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npower League

Championship Play-Off First Leg Preview: Crystal Palace v Bristol City

The first leg of the Coca-Cola Championship Play-Offs take place this weekend, and first up is Palace against Bristol City at Selhurst Park.

Both clubs surpassed expectation to reach the play-offs, but the Robins spent much of the year in the top two so to ultimately miss out on automatic promotion is bound to leave them feeling a little disappointed.

Palace boss Neil Warnock:

Although the games are classed as play-offs, we will approach them as league games. It’ll just be a normal week for us to be honest.

It’s all about whatever happens on the day – it could be a lucky break or a bit of individual brilliance that wins the game. But that’s what makes the play-offs so great.

It’s in the final where it becomes more of a theatre of dreams because of where it is and what’s at stake.

Bristol City manager Gary Johnson:

I am really looking forward to it. Neil Warnock has had a great run of form to get into the Play-Offs. They’re one of the form teams but it was always going to be a difficult two legs, whoever we were to play.

It is important that the players feel good about going into the play-offs. The players weren’t worried about who we would play, we’re the fourth best team in the Championship. That’s a superb achievement.

A few facts…

Final League Position: Crystal Palace 5th, Bristol City 4th.

Last Time at Selhurst Park: 19th January 2008 – Crystal Palace 2 Bristol City 0.

Top Goalscorer: Crystal Palace – Morrison (16), Bristol City – Byfield (8).

My Prediction: The Robins narrowly edged out Palace to be named as play-off favourites in the poll, but I think home advantage will give the Eagles the edge in the first leg. Crystal Palace 2 Bristol City 1.

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