Alan Pardew says the fact Crystal Palace are closer to mid-table than the bottom three (sort of) proves they can still have a “great season”.
The Eagles have failed to win a game in the Premier League since December and a defeat at home to fellow strugglers Norwich on Saturday would see them dragged further into the relegation battle.
Heading into the weekend’s matches Palace are three points ahead of the 17th-placed Canaries – and seven above the relegation zone – but Pardew knows his troops need a result soon to help turn their flagging campaign around.
Pardew said: “Our season is in the balance, it could still be a great season for us but we need to get some points in this league to get into a healthier position.
“There is a real determination from the group to get our league position healthier. We are actually closer to mid-table than we are to the bottom three (Palace are ten points behind tenth place Chelsea, or six off West Brom in eleventh) so we can still finish strongly and that is what we want to do.
“It is a key game because it is against a team that is only three points behind us and have won two games. To beat us would give them great momentum and we don’t want that, we want the momentum.”
Norwich have beaten Newcastle and West Brom in their last two outings and those results followed a morale-boosting draw at home to Manchester City in mid-March.
Alex Neil’s side have found an inner belief in recent weeks and Pardew knows they will come to Selhurst Park full of confidence.
He said: “It is a more difficult proposition because their confidence has improved with those two wins.
“They played well against Newcastle, it was a tight, tight game and I expect our game to be the same.
“I think (the priority) is to get a win, it has been well documented our run in the league but more importantly for our fans and for us that win will be something we will try and create.”
Palace face their former player Patrick Bamford for the first time since he left the club in December after he terminated his loan from Chelsea early.
The striker was meant to be with the Eagles until the end of the season and when he left he branded his stint “terrible”.
The 22-year-old has since apologised for his comments and Pardew admits the youngster may have some regrets.
He said: “He probably could have handled that better. Me and Patrick spoke about it. He knows there were a couple of errors. But that happens with young players.
“He wants to be a success instantly. But sometimes you need patience. You can get injured, lose form or not get in the team.
“He’s a young player who was Championship Player of the Year (with Middlesbrough the previous season), scoring a lot of goals. Then he found himself not in a team.
“I had absolutely no problem with him, he’s a cracking lad. He will have a great career. Patrick has a great chance, he has natural finishing skills. I look forward to seeing him on Saturday but I hope I don’t see him score.”