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.