Scottish Premier League

Teale wary of wounded Celtic

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Fri, 01 Mar 2013 17:50:00

Crystal Palace have tied down youngsters Matt Parsons and Jason Banton to new contracts at Selhurst Park.

The duo, both 20, have agreed terms on deals that will last until 2014, with the option of an extra year.

A statement on the Palace website confirmed: "Matt Parsons and Jason Banton have both signed contract extensions with the club until the end of the 2014 season, both have the option of a year's extension.

"In addition, Banton has extended his loan at Plymouth Argyle until the end of the season, although Palace have a 24-hour recall clause."

Defender Parsons has made 10 first-team appearances for the Eagles, with his last outing coming in the FA Cup third-round replay defeat at Stoke this season. He has had two loan spells away for the club, at Barnet in 2011 and Wycombe earlier this campaign.

Winger Banton, who has scored three goals in his five appearances for League Two side Plymouth, made his Palace debut against Stoke in the original third-round tie in January.

He arrived at Selhurst Park in October after failing to win a contract with MLS side Seattle Sounders, following his release from Birmingham in 2011.

The Croatia international has not scored in his past nine appearances and his only strike since December 9 came against League Two Cheltenham in the FA Cup.

Such lack of form contrasts sharply with almost 12 months ago when the 27-year-old enjoyed a run of 11 goals in 14 matches to the end of the campaign which had many hailing him as the buy of the January window at a cost of just ?5.5million.

It has cost him his place in the starting line-up recently and while Moyes accepts the player's confidence has been dealt a blow he is backing the forward to bounce back.

"I am not that cuddly a fella or one for putting my arm around you all the time but every manager has their own style," Moyes said.

"I don't know if Jela is the sort of boy who would want me to do that any way.

"Any forward who has played the game and been through barren spells will tell you they practise more or don't do any in the hope it comes back without it.

"I think it is every man for themselves in that. We would like him to get his goals and lift his performances and if we get that it will be a big help to the team.

"The team need him. I said last week a lot of what we do this year will be determined by how well Jela scores between now and the end of the season.

"It is noticeable (his lack of goals) because everyone talks about it.

"We tend to be as honest as we can and not hide away from anything and at the moment undoubtedly we need Jela to find a way of scoring some goals.

"He needs to get a goal but I don't know if one goal will make everything right.

"If I saw him getting four goals in four games then I would start to think 'This is what we want'.

"You have to find a way of making that happen again but we could do with him standing up and getting us some goals now."

Of the top eight only West Brom have scored fewer goals than sixth-placed Everton.

Moyes knows it has lost them ground on the race for Champions League qualification as their failings up front have led to concessions at the other end proving more costly - as their 12 draws this season highlight.

"We are disappointed we have not scored more goals - if we had maybe the boys at the back would not have had so much to deal with late on," said the Scot.

"Our play in between the boxes has been very good but we need to do a little bit better in the boxes because, to be fair, that is where it really matters."

Jelavic's goal drought has been compounded by the unavailability of forward Kevin Mirallas, who began his first season at the club brightly but has been hampered by a recurring hamstring injury.

The Belgian scored in the midweek FA Cup fifth-round replay victory over Oldham and Moyes hopes that may help re-ignite his season.

"His first two or three games back were a gentle introduction and we hope he kicks on now after the goal as he looked a bit sharper in his general play the other night," added the Toffees boss.

"We are hoping we can get a bit more from Kevin because he was a big goalscorer in Greece (having signed from Olympiacos in the summer).

"A lot of our players have settled in quickly - Jelavic did incredibly quickly - and although Kevin started the season well I think he is still coming to terms with the Premier League.

"I am hoping the last 10 or 12 games he can help us as it is his job to score goals with Jelavic, Victor Anichebe, everyone."

The 26-year-old's current deal was due to expire at the end of this season, but he has been rewarded with a new contract after producing some impressive displays in the Premier League this term.

Puncheon has made 26 appearances for Saints in the current campaign and netted six goals, scoring in the wins over Aston Villa, QPR, Reading and Manchester City as well as the draw at Chelsea.

After putting pen to paper on his new contract, Puncheon told the club's official website: "It feels amazing. It's obviously been a worry because my contract was up at the end of the season, so it was important for me to get tied down.

"It's a weight off my mind, so now I can look to the long-term future. The club has a vision, and that's why I've signed and stayed on.

"We got to the Premier League in three years, and now the club has a vision of playing European football - and we want to get there as soon as possible."

Puncheon joined Southampton from Plymouth in February 2010 but struggled to break into the first team initially and has spent time on loan with Millwall, Blackpool and QPR in the last two seasons.

The on-loan Reading winger's initial deal ends after Saturday's home League One game against Sheffield United, but he remains confident he will be staying at Boundary Park.

He told the club's official website: "I have spoken to Reading and it looks like they will extend my loan.

"I am playing games, enjoying my football and hopefully I will be staying."

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a successful spell with the Latics which saw him score against Everton in the club's recent run in the FA Cup.

The Sweden international, 21, has been signed in time to be involved in the Clarets' clash with Charlton on Saturday.

Kacaniklic, who has made 15 Premier League appearances for Fulham this season, scoring three times, is reunited with Sean Dyche, who he played under at Watford last term.

"He is an exciting young prospect and something different to what we have, which is important. He's dynamic and can mix up his game," Dyche said.

"He was with us at Watford last year and was then called back and went into Fulham's first team, which is obviously a good sign.

"He has started this season in the Premier League and got himself a couple of goals.

"It's a good link with Fulham. They know their player was looked after at Watford. He is aware of us as a staff and knows he will get looked after here.

"That's one of the key things. We do look after players here. We look to develop our own and anyone who joins us."

The Paisley side face the Hoops in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup just three days after Neil Lennon's men lost to Motherwell at Fir Park.

That 2-1 Scottish Premier League defeat also comes after Saints stunned Celtic in the semi-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup final last month.

In that match, St Mirren secured a surprise 3-2 win over the Glasgow giants to bring to an end a run of eight successive defeats that had seen Celtic amassing a combined score of 22-0.

Now Teale, who returns to boss Danny Lennon's squad after missing three games with an abductor tear, believes Celtic will be all fired up after those disappointments.

However, following their own 2-0 SPL success against Hearts in midweek, the 34-year-old claims Saints fancy their chances.

The former Scotland international said: "The worst thing that could have happened for us was Celtic's defeat to Motherwell.

"They will be even more up for it now, especially after that semi-final defeat too.

"But we can only concentrate on ourselves. We will take confidence from that result at Hampden. Celtic are a fantastic side and nine times out of 10, they will be expected to beat us, as their record shows.

"But we can take confidence from that last game and from the Hearts win as well.

"We will go in believing we can win again."

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