Ward: Everybody needs to relax at Palace

Back: Joel Ward has returned from injury in time for the season run in

Back: Joel Ward has returned from injury in time for the season run in

First published in Sport by , Sports Reporter

Joel Ward made his Crystal Palace comeback on Saturday and immediately urged everyone around the club to relax.

The 23-year-old, signed from Portsmouth in the summer, has had to watch Palace's promotion battle from the treatment table for the past three months but returned to the team as the Eagles drew 0-0 with Barnsley.

Although it was their first clean sheet in six matches, it was a fifth game without victory, a run that has seen them go from looking at those above them in the table to checking over their shoulders nervously at the chasing pack eyeing their top-six spot.

But Ward insists it is not time to panic and things will come right in the final five games.

"Everyone can see the results but we have done exceptionally well this season and we go out every game and try our best," he said.

"We are in the same boat as the fans. We want to do the best we can and pick up points and score goals and win games.

"It's frustrating for us but we have to stay calm and keep doing what we have been doing all season.

"It's not a question of us not wanting it or the desire not being there, we all want it so bad, we just need to focus, keep calm and relax."

An original groin injury suffered against Huddersfield was complicated by a recurrence of a tendinitis problem in Ward's knee that kept him on the sidelines longer than anticipated.

It left the full-back frustrated but now he is back he is desperate to keep hold of his place and help the Eagles secure a play-off spot.

"It's been long awaited," said Ward of his comeback.

"I have been out for a longer time than I anticipated but it is good to be back at this time in the season and to be where we are in the league.

"It was frustrating for me as I wanted to be involved but the lads have done a fantastic job this season.

"As a team and a squad we have done brilliantly and now, hopefully, I can stay fit and help the team."

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