Kevin Phillips’ deciding penalty in the Championship play-off final against Watford ensured Crystal Palace return to the top flight of English football. 

While they bask in the glory of their achievement at Wembley they must shortly focus on what they need to do to stay in the Premier League. A task that will not be easy.

Palace’s boss Ian Holloway and the money men at Selhurst Park have a decision to make. Will they break the bank to try and remain in the Premier League by bettering their squad or will they keep the faith with the players who achieved promotion?

Whichever way they go it will be very difficult to compete with many of the clubs in the Premier League.

Palace are now going to lose the services of their star player Wilfried Zaha, who will now complete his £10m January transfer to Manchester United.

It is unlikely that Zaha will be loaned back to the London club but if he is it will be a big coup and a great morale booster. 

Added to this Palace will be without their top scorer Glenn Murray through long-term injury. Despite the heroics of Phillips at Wembley, at nearly 40 years old, he will not have much of an influence in the Premier League.

All this points to the need for Holloway to splash the cash in order to avoid an immediate return to the Championship. However, the last time Holloway achieved promotion with Blackpool he decided to stick with his existing players which eventually backfired when they were relegated.

Holloway will need to learn from this and try and find a happy medium. He may chose to use a lot of youngsters particularly as Palace are renowned from unearthing quality players from their youth teams.

Promoted teams generally struggle in the Premier League but Palace can take heart from the likes of Norwich City, Swansea City and Southampton who all performed well in their first season back in the top flight. 

Palace need to spend their money wisely but will also need to spend big in order to stay in the league. They have money from the Zaha transfer and also around £55million from TV revenue but I feel as though they will have to spend the bulk of this to survive. So will they stick or twist?

Holloway’s previous experience will be vital but even with his ability to build a squad with a great team ethic - it will still prove tough for him to achieve what may be the impossible. 

Whatever happens and however tough it may get, Palace have come a long way since going into administration in 2010.


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