Crystal Palace’s season appeared to be heading in one direction, but then Tony Pulis arrived and a remarkable and unexpected transformation occurred.
From relegation-certainties to hopeful entertainers, the Eagles are now looking very much on the up.
And while they remain in the Premier League relegation zone, their performances under Pulis suggest the second half of their season will be a far happier affair than the first.
However, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done, and the Telegraph claims the former Stoke City manager wants to bring in at least six new players this month.
If two of the players linked do arrive at Selhurst Park, they could do so much more than inspire a climb to safety; they could ultimately ensure Palace become a Premier League stalwart similar to Pulis’s former employers at the Britannia Stadium.
The report claims Palace are pursuing Blackpool winger Tom Ince and Everton striker Nikica Jelavic.
And while the former Liverpool starlet is believed to be attracting considerable attention from a host of clubs both here and abroad, if Pulis can somehow secure his services he will be bringing in one of the most promising young players in English football – a move that may prove bittersweet for another such man, Wilfried Zaha.
After all, while Ince continues to shine, Zaha is struggling for minutes at Manchester United.
Jelavic seems the more likely target – if his brace against QPR has not convinced Robert Martinez to keep him – and a natural goal-scorer of his ilk is exactly what the Eagles need to fire them out of trouble.
But if they can somehow get both – and it is a big if – Palace should ensure safety with time to spare, before looking ahead to a far better season to come.
image: © OliverN5