No Palace sentiment for Mullins

113694-210_IPSWICH_POMPEY_SR_18/10/11'Ipswich Town vs Pompey at Portman Road.''Picture:Steve Reid 113694-210
113694-210_IPSWICH_POMPEY_SR_18/10/11'Ipswich Town vs Pompey at Portman Road.''Picture:Steve Reid 113694-210
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

New boy’s bitter-sweet Pompey experience

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MIDFIELDER Hayden Mullins believes Pompey can bury their away-day hoodoo on his old stomping ground.

The Blues travel to the Championship’s surprise package tonight as they meet Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

That means a return to the club he started his career at.

The midfielder was given his league debut for Palace in 1998 and went on to make 256 appearances for the Eagles before moving to West Ham.

Pompey’s need for points will override any lingering attachment the 32-year-old has to the Londoners, though.

The winless away run now covers 11 games stretching back to March.

That includes five successive away losses on the bounce – the latest coming after a weak first 45 minutes at Derby led to a 3-1 defeat.

Mullins believes Pompey showed at Ipswich recently that they can deliver the form on the road to produce wins.

And he insisted there is the firepower in the team to hurt opposing sides.

Mullins said: ‘We’re looking at Palace now.

‘No-one was happy with Derby so we want to go to Palace and get something.

‘We’ll be desperate to do that. We have to get back on track.

‘I just think we need to be disciplined and hard to break down.

‘Our quality up front could win us the game.

‘We have the strikers and people in wide areas who can create chances.

‘We did that against Ipswich. We went and created loads of chances.

‘We were a bit short against Derby on that.

‘But if we perform like we did against Ipswich we should get the points.

‘The start is important.

‘We need to keep it tighter, maybe.

‘We don’t want to let the lack of away wins become a monkey on our back.

‘We want an away win and we want it against Palace.’

Mullins admitted he has been stunned by the Eagles’ soaring form this season.

He played with current boss Dougie Freedman, and remains close to the former Scotland striker.

Mullins said: ‘Palace’s transformation has been brilliant.

‘I played with Dougie for many years. He’s doing a terrific job.

‘I saw him last weekend and we had a good chat. I’m really happy for him.

‘It would be brilliant to go there and get us up and running away form home.

‘Dougie has done a top job, I’m really surprised how good a job he’s doing, to be fair!

‘They are getting brilliant results. The job him and Tony Popovic are doing is unbelievable.’

Mullins is unsure of what reception he will receive when he walks out at Selhurst Park tonight.

But he retains an affinity with the club where he made his name as a promising defender and midfielder.

Former England boss Terry Venables was the man to give him his first start, after Palace had dropped out of the top flight.

A long time has passed since that day, but those formative moments in his career remain vivid for the Reading-born man.

Mullins said: ‘It was Terry Venables who gave me my debut 13 years ago.

‘They had been relegated from the Premier League the year before and a few players had left.

‘I’d done well in pre-season and played a few games, but never thought I’d start the first game of the season.

‘When he told me on the Friday I’d be in the team there was real butterflies.

‘I was so nervous but once the game starts you are okay.

‘It’s a great club, a really good one to start at.

‘In the youth team I always played in defence.

‘But I got my chance in midfield which was a bit surprising.

‘I enjoyed it and we drew 2-2. It was a good day.

‘I normally get a mixed reception when I go back now.

‘It’s been a long time since I played for Palace, so they’ve probably forgotten about me!’