Julian Speroni: Crystal Palace should aim to top six finish
JULIAN Speroni believes a top-six finish is a realistic aim for the Eagles next season.
The 33-year-old was part of a strong defensive unit during the last campaign, but stressed their improvement under manager Dougie Freedman is gradual progression from where they found themselves just over two years ago.
However, he is keen to push on and hopes the team can surprise a few next season, especially if they get off to a good start.
"I'm sure we will want to be aiming for the top six places," he said. "Of course, we want to do better than last year, but I know it's going to be a very, very tough season.
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"There are a lot of strong clubs in the Championship, but if we get off to a good start, then we'll see what happens.
"Everybody knew their role in defence last season. We defended from the strikers down to me and that was really important in our defensive record.
"It's a matter of building and moving forward from the experience we had, as it wasn't a good position we found ourselves in two years ago.
"The owners are doing a great job and the players follow, so it's a gradual process, but I think we're moving in the right way."
Anthony Gardner was part of a mean defence last year in front of the Argentine, and with Nathaniel Clyne looking to move on a free, Speroni thinks new signings Joel Ward and Aaron Martin are more than capable to step in at the back.
"We'll find out about Joel and Aaron when we start playing some games together," he said. "I think they're great players and I am sure they can fulfil any role the manager may ask them to do.
"As a team, we'll see how we'll adapt to the new players and how we react, but I think in today's game, nobody is irreplaceable.
"The lads welcomed them very nicely, so I think it's great for everybody.
"All the new signings will be great additions to the squad."
And Speroni revealed he's about to begin training since breaking his finger after 25 minutes against Reading in April.
"Everyone started pre-season last week, but it's been a bit strange for me because of the injury I picked up at the end of last season," he said.
"I had a little pin removed from my finger on Monday, but it was nothing major and I'm hoping to start training next week.
"All pre-season is hard, especially the first couple of weeks, but I'm hoping to start catching the ball again as soon as possible."