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Preview: Barnet vs. Crystal Palace - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Barnet vs. Crystal Palace - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's friendly clash between Barnet and Crystal Palace, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Premier League side Crystal Palace will begin their pre-season preparations with a short trip north of the River Thames when they face Barnet on Tuesday.

Barnet finished fifth in the National League last season, missing out on returning to the Football League after losing 2-1 to Boreham Wood in the play-offs.

Match preview

Indeed, Barnet will be entering their sixth successive season competing in England's fifth tier, following their relegation from League Two in 2018.

After battling against relegation in the previous two campaigns, Dean Brennan's side were surprise contenders at the top end of the division last time out, although automatic promotion was never on the cards for them given the incredibly high standards of Wrexham and Notts County.

As was the case three seasons prior, though, the Bees ultimately fell short during the end of season playoffs, with Lee Ndlovu's brace helping Boreham Wood to a 2-1 victory at the Hive Stadium in early May.

With Wrexham's and Notts County's vast resources no longer standing in the way of several contenders hoping to climb into the promised land of the Football League, Brennan and his players may be confident of pushing for promotion once again, with Tuesday's friendly against Premier League opposition set to provide another superb test for them after drawing 1-1 against Norwich City in their first pre-season game.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, are enjoying the club's most successful ever period in terms of the length of unbroken time which they have spent in England's top flight.

Their 10th consecutive campaign in the Premier League ended with Roy Hodgson comfortably guiding them away from any relegation fears following his return to the club in late March, with the 75-year-old extending his stay at the club by putting pen to paper on a one-year contract last week.

The Eagles' consistency across that decade has been quite remarkable, with only one top half finish to shout about in 2014-15, yet they have gained between 41-49 points in every season, having never looked in any real relegation danger at the business end of any of those campaigns.

Hodgson has bolstered his ranks with the addition of Jefferson Lerma on a free transfer from Bournemouth, but much of the speculation at Selhurst Park has understandably been dominated by the future of club legend Wilfried Zaha, whose contract expired at the end of last month. The 30-year-old is reportedly close to turning down extending his time in south London by making a switch to Champions League representatives Lazio.

While Zaha - who has scored 90 goals in 445 appearances for Palace - would clearly leave huge boots to fill should he depart, young talents such as Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise provide plenty of reasons for Palace fans to remain cheerful ahead of another season in which they will expect to push on and challenge for the top half.

Barnet friendly form:

Barnet form (all competitions):

Crystal Palace friendly form:

Crystal Palace form (all competitions):

Team News

Barnet fans will be hoping to see new signings Callum Stead, Sam Barratt, Zak Brunt, Reece Hall-Johnson, Ben Coker and Adebola Oluwo all line up for them after joining the club on a free transfer earlier this month.

Brennan could select the same starting XI that helped earn a 1-1 draw against Championship side Norwich last week, with Marvin Armstrong set to be full of confidence after scoring in that match.

Palace will be missing Olise throughout pre-season after the France Under-21s winger suffered a severe hamstring tear while playing for his country at the European Under-21 Championships. It is thought to be a grade three tear - the most serious which a player can sustain - and it is therefore unlikely that he will be ready for the start of the campaign.

Lerma could be involved to make his unofficial debut for the club at some stage, but Eze may not be risked after only recently making his international debut for England.

Barnet possible starting lineup:
Walker; Hall-Johnson, Oluwo, Collinge, Revan, Coker; Armstrong, Gorman; Senior, Kabamba, Pritchard

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Ferguson, Richards, Tomkins, Mitchell; Lerma, Doucoure; Ayew, Ahamada, Schlupp; Edouard

We say: Barnet 1-3 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace, who are unlikely to be at full strength with plenty of players still returning from enjoying their summer break, will be looking to use this fixture as an opportunity to ease back into action.

That said, Hodgson's side should still have far too much quality for their opponents, who are competing four divisions beneath them and may still be feeling some fatigue after playing twice in the past week.

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