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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 12, 2006

Taylor demands defensive improvement from Palace

Crystal Palace boss Peter Taylor has demanded his side quit their habit of giving away cheap goals.

The Eagles made the ideal start to their season with three consecutive wins in the Coca-Cola Championship.

However, they have since exited the Carling Cup after defeat to Notts County and taken just one point from their last three league matches.

The latest setback came at Luton on Saturday, and Taylor expects more of his team when they take on Southampton at Selhurst Park tonight.

The Luton defeat was painful for Taylor, who said: 'Both goals were very preventable and teams are not scoring fantastic goals against us.

'No goal conceded is good, but if the opposition do score I want them to be well-worked goals. We're making life a little bit easy for them.'

Southampton could include Bradley Wright-Phillips in their starting line-up after the former Manchester City striker proved himself fully fit following an ankle injury.

Wright-Phillips was a lively substitute in the defeat at Ipswich on Saturday and will battle with Grzegorz Rasiak and Kenwyne Jones for a role in attack.

Saints should also recall 17-year-old Wales defender Gareth Bale, who was rested by boss George Burley at the weekend following his eye-catching start to the season.

Burley told: 'Gareth played the last home game against Preston, then had an Under-21 match, and then played against Brazil so I just gave him a rest.'

Despite going down 2-1 at Portman Road, Burley stressed: 'The team played very well on Saturday so I won't be looking to make too many changes.

'Bradley did not start because he was still feeling his ankle and only trained for the first time on the Thursday.

'But he is back in contention for what is a very tough away game.'

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce, whose side face QPR, admits it was difficult to motivate his players following Barclays Premiership relegation last season.

In the past two seasons, teams dropping out of the top flight have not bounced back immediately - Norwich, Crystal Palace and Southampton last to fail - but Birmingham and West Brom have started well and Sunderland are gathering momentum after appointing Roy Keane as manager.

'I can now understand how difficult Norwich and Southampton found it last season, because it's been very hard to lift everyone,' said Bruce.

'Everyone is doom and gloom, so it's been a hard job to get everyone motivated and focused on the job in hand.'

Birmingham defeated Hull at St Andrews on Saturday and are level on points at the top of the Championship with Wolves and Cardiff.

Wolves host Derby, while Cardiff travel to Plymouth. Elsewhere in the top half, Preston and West Brom clash at Deepdale and Norwich meet Southend at Roots Hall.

Barnsley travel to Burnley, Ipswich host Coventry at Portman Road and Leicester meet Hull at the Walkers Stadium. Luton face Colchester, and Stoke make the trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

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