Crystal Palace summer signings driving squad to improve, says Ward

Joel Ward says the competition places at Crystal Palace this season has driven him to raise the bar under Roy Hodgson.

The Palace defender was the only senior right-back at Selhurst Park last season, but has now been joined by former England international Nathaniel Clyne and youngster Nathan Ferguson, who arrived as very highly rated from West Brom.

Ward has responded with a string of fine performances in the early matches of the season.

“I think any time there is competition for places it only raises the bar,” said Ward. “As a player you’ve got to perform but there is enough experience in the squad in every position that you are always trying to make sure you are at the top of your game.

“You compete for places, compete for that and you’ve got to trust in the hours you put in on the training pitch, when no one is watching that go on and put you in good stead.

“It is only healthy that there is competition for places and it only drives people more.”

Ward will look to continue his run of form this weekend against London rivals Fulham, with Scott Parker’s side still on the lookout for their first win back in the Premier League.

“There’s no magic formula to all of a sudden [to stop] errors that are occurring,” Parker said of their poor start to the season.

“What is normally the case is it’s a process, it’s stick to what you know is right and work hard and keep improving.”

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