Dover v Crystal Palace: Ignore the form and get behind Pardew

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Alan Pardew could hardly have hoped for a better start to life back at Crystal Palace, where the south Londoner was a losing FA Cup finalist in 1990, than a trip to Conference outfit Dover in a competition that clearly holds great memories for him.

Here are our three best bets for the mismatch:

Crystal Palace (-1) to beat Dover @ 1/1

Yes, Dover are unbeaten in 16 matches, winning 10 of those, and yes, Palace last tasted victory when they downed Liverpool 3-1 at home at the end of November, but this is a Conference side facing a Premier League team, with a new manager to boot.

The Eagles haven’t been that bad on the road of late anyway, drawing five of their last seven away in the top flight and only losing in Manchester (twice) during that run.

With former Palace FA Cup hero Pardew at the helm for the first time, the south Londoners will be desperate to impress, so back them to win easily.

Dwight Gayle to score the first goal @ 7/2

The ex-Peterborough striker has a whopping four goals already in cup competitions this term, having grabbed a hat-trick away to Walsall in the Capital One Cup second round, before bagging when the Eagles went down 3-2 to Pardew’s former club Newcastle.

In three of the four matches Gayle has hit the back of the net this season he has broken the deadlock and in the other, against Liverpool, scored his side’s first of the match.

Bearing that in mind, the fact that the 24-year-old is the same price for the opener as teammates Glenn Murray and Fraizer Campbell is baffling.

Scott Dann to score at any time @ 11/2

Over Palace’s past eight games, only Dann, James McArthur and Mile Jedinak have troubled the scoreboard operator, with the former Blackburn centre-half the last to do so in the 3-1 loss at home to Southampton.

Captain Jedinak is on Asian Cup duty with Australia, and McArthur is short enough at 7/2 to fire, so backing Dann makes some semblance of sense in a fixture Pardew’s new charges could rack up a cricket score.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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