Pardew hopes bad run is over as Palace strikers return
REUTERS - Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew hopes his faltering team, who have gone eight league games without a win, have turned a corner in their season as they prepare to welcome Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.
Palace have struggled to score goals since the turn of the year and needed a second-half equaliser from defender Scott Dann against Swansea City at the weekend to avoid a sixth straight league defeat.
With key players nearing full fitness, Pardew said Palace's hard-earned point against the Swans could get them moving in the right direction again.
"We've lost key players in one area really. Our offensive area was wiped out," the manager told reporters on Thursday.
"It's very rare that you'd go through a Premier League season without a difficult period. This was ours. Hopefully that point puts us on the right track."
Striker Dwight Gayle, who has not played since Dec. 7, could return to face Watford, while Connor Wickham is back in contention having served a three-match ban for violent conduct after elbowing Tottenham Hostpur's Jan Vertonghen in the face.
Influential winger Yannick Bolasie, who has been out since December, and attacking midfielder Bakary Sako, will not return in time for Saturday, but could challenging for a starting berth against Tottenham in the FA Cup on Feb. 21, Pardew said.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Justin Palmer)