Obita keen on Oldham stay

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.