Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock admits the club must make “two or three” signings in January to boost their chances of Barclays Premier League survival. Palace have won just once in nine games ahead of a crucial Christmas period that includes matches against Manchester City, Southampton and fellow strugglers QPR. Only two points currently separate the Eagles from the bottom three and Warnock believes it will be essential to strengthen the squad when the transfer window opens. “We’ve got to bring players in,” said Warnock, whose side host Stoke on Saturday. “Without knocking our players, they’ve got to be better than we’ve already got and it takes quite a lot of money to do that. “We’ve got some good players so it’s just trying to add two or three players to the squad that we’ve got to give us that bit more in depth. “The substitutes’ bench hasn’t had a lot of players on it for me to change a game so that’s something for the second half of the season, where we can look to influence the game by the substitutes.” Palace have struggled for goals in recent games, scoring just once in their last three league outings. Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha both impressed during a goalless draw at Tottenham last weekend but the Eagles lack enough cutting edge in the final third to snatch victory. “I think we’ve known all along that we haven’t got that clinical striker,” Warnock said. “I think we’ve scored quite a few goals over the season but they just seem to be in spurts. When we score, we score three. “We’ve got to start putting lesser chances away that would have earned us quite a lot more points.” Defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak is the club’s top scorer in the league this term with five goals, three of which came from the penalty spot. Marouane Chamakh, Dwight Gayle and Fraizer Campbell have all struggled for form while experienced frontman Andrew Johnson has been sidelined with injuries. Damien Delaney could return to the Eagles starting line-up on Saturday. The defender was on the bench for the goalless draw against Tottenham last weekend but is now considered fully fit, having recovered from a calf injury. Midfielder Jason Puncheon will be assessed after missing training on Thursday through illness while Joe Ledley (hip) and Adrian Mariappa (knee) are both ruled out. Stoke manager Mark Hughes will be hoping for more magic from Bojan Krkic as his side attempt to make it back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season. The former Barcelona man struggled initially after signing for the Potters in the summer but, since coming back into the team at the end of October, he has got better and better. It was Bojan who stood out as the most influential player on the pitch as Stoke stunned Arsenal last weekend, scoring the second goal in a 3-2 victory. This weekend the Potters head to Palace, and manager Hughes said of Bojan: “Arguably he’s been our best performer since he’s come back in. “He’s worked hard, he’s listened, understood what’s required and when he came back in I knew he was ready. I can’t claim to have known he would perform so well but certainly there was a good chance. “He wasn’t affecting games in the manner we would have liked initially, but that was to be expected. We can’t get too carried away because there is still a lot more to come from him, and that is exciting. “He didn’t come in here in the summer wanting a 12 month contract – he made a big commitment to us, just as we made one to him too. He needed that stability (of a four-year deal) to be effective in the Premier League and for us. “It’s still early days. He’s only had five or six games at the level he needs to be but he’s playing with a smile on his face, his team-mates understand what he can give them and he helps as well with his work ethic – and he’s a good kid.” The heated atmosphere at the Britannia Stadium certainly helped Stoke against Arsenal, but Hughes knows the boot will be on the other foot at Selhurst Park. He said: “It’s a great atmosphere down there. I always found that as a player and it’s not changed since I have been in management. “The last couple of years it seems to have gone up a notch, just as that happened here when this club won promotion. “We get the benefit of it at the Brit and I think that should be encouraged, it’s a great atmosphere to be involved in. They will look to use it to their advantage on Saturday, but we will go down there and enjoy it, and hopefully pick up the result we believe we are capable of.” Hughes looks set to be without defender Marc Muniesa, who tweaked his hamstring against Arsenal, but Jonathan Walters is available despite an ongoing knee problem. Press Association
Senior forward Cassie Harberts was named to the All-Pac-12 Team for the second consecutive year on Tuesday, leading four other Women of Troy to receive All-Conference honors ahead of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday.Best of the best · Senior forward Cassie Harberts was named to the All-Pac-12 team yesterday for the second straight season. Harberts averaged 16.2 points per game this season after posting an 18.0 average in 2012-2013. – Ricardo Galvez | Daily TrojanJunior guard Ariya Crook earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, junior forward Alexyz Vaioletama and sophomore guard Brianna Barrett made the conference’s All-Defensive Team Honorable Mention and guard Courtney Jaco landed All-Freshman Team Honorable Mention.In head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke’s first season at the helm, Harberts was the standout star for the Women of Troy en route to their 18-12 (11-7) record and fifth-place finish in the Pac-12. The four-year starter led the team in points per game (16.2), rebounds per game (7.5), minutes per game (32.9) and blocks (25). She asserted herself as the fulcrum of USC’s offense down low in the post, constantly drawing double-teams and fouls, as she led the team in free throw attempts (214) while converting 57 percent of her tries from the line. Harberts was one of 15 players and seven returnees to be named to the squad.Harberts tied three others for USC’s program-record 128 appearances in the Women of Troy’s final regular season game, and is poised to claim the record for herself in the team’s Pac-12 Tournament opener against Arizona on Thursday.If Harberts was the steady star for USC that teams knew they had to stop, Crook was the breakout performer who frequently showed offensive explosiveness to catch opposing defenses off-guard. The Torrance, Calif. native averaged 15.8 points and 2.3 assists per game, often utilizing her quickness to drive to the basket for easy lay-ups. In USC’s biggest win of the season, a 77-70 road upset over then-No. 19 Cal, Crook poured in 34 points, the most scored by a Woman of Troy since 2002.Both Vaioletama, the only USC player to start all 30 games besides Harberts, and Barrett molded reputations as defensive stoppers this season. Vaioletama led the team in steals (1.9) and defensive rebounds (4.8) per game, while also doubling her offensive output from last season in becoming USC’s third-leading scorer (8.5 ppg).Barrett, who received All-Defensive Team Honorable Mention for the second straight year, led the team in assists per game (2.8), was second in steals per game (1.4) and fourth in points (6.8 per game).Jaco established herself as a solid contributer off the bench, averaging 3.8 points per game and nailing 36.1 percent of her three-point attempts while averaging 14.1 minutes.The selections were culled from a vote of the league’s 12 women’s basketball head coaches.Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike won her second straight Pac-12 Player of the Year award, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer was honored with her fourth straight Coach of the Year award and Washington guard Kelsey Plum was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan is the huge favourite to win this season’s Arabian Gulf League Foreign Player of the Year.The 28-year-old faces stern tests from last season’s winner Brazilian Grafite and two other Al Ahli players Hugo Viana (Portugal) and Ciel (Brazil).The ten-man shortlist includes three other Africans; Senegalese Makhete Diop (Al Dhafra), Al Jazira’s Abdelaziz Barrada who hails from Morocco and Simon Feindouno of Guinea.But Gyan’s incredible scoring form makes him the overwhelming favourite to win the coveted award.The Al Ain ace has scored 28 goals in 25 league appearances and set to win the top scorer award for the third consecutive time.His fiercest challenger is Grafite who has raked in 19 goals in 24 appearances. Arabian Gulf League Foreign Player of the Year nominees:Hugo Viana (Al Ahli)Ciel (Al Ahli)Grafite (Al Ahli)Simon Feindouno (Ajman) Abdelaziz Barrada (Al Jazira)Luiz Henrique (Al Shabab)Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain)Sebastian Tagliabue (Al Wahda)Makhete Diop (Al Dhafra) Kim Jung-woo (Sharjah)