Joel Ward hopeful over new Crystal Palace contract after man-of-the-match display in Manchester United draw

Jack Rosser
·2-min read
<p>Man of the match: Joel Ward starred for Crystal Palace against Manchester United</p> (Getty Images)

Man of the match: Joel Ward starred for Crystal Palace against Manchester United

(Getty Images)

Joel Ward is hopeful of securing a new Crystal Palace contract before the end of the season and says confidence is high in south London once more.

The full-back put in a man-of-the-match display as Palace made it three games unbeaten with their goalless draw against Manchester United on Wednesday night.

Ward is one of 12 players - in addition to manager Roy Hodgson and his staff - set to be out of contract at Selhurst Park at the end of the season, with Palace facing a seismic summer.

However, as he proved on Wednesday, the 31-year-old remains an asset and is keen to stay on.

"Ultimately I can only control what I am doing with the playing side of things and the hierarchy will take care of the rest," Ward told Standard Sport. "It is there and hopefully we can get something sorted in the near future.

"We shall see, we’ll go from there and hopefully it’ll all work out."

Ward kept both Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw quiet on Wednesday night, and Hodgson was glowing in his praise of the right-back.

"I think he must be delighted with his game," said Hodgson.

"He did a great job on Sunday as well against [Fulham’s] Ademola Lookman. He's played against two top, top-class wingers really. He kept him very quiet and tonight he kept Marcus Rashford quiet. So you can't really ask much more than that."

Hodgson and Palace have turned things around since an influential group of fans labelled their approach as "spineless" and accused the club of suffering a "pandemic of apathy".

After their derby victory over Brighton and back-to-back clean sheets against Fulham and Manchester United, and with Wilfried Zaha close to a return from his hamstring injury, Ward says confidence is on the up.

"We focus in-house," Ward said of the criticism. "What we can affect is what happens on the pitch and the work that we do Monday to Saturday, so we focus on that. The noise outside of that we can’t control so it is ultimately noise at the end of the day.

"I think you look at the last three games, the way we’ve performed as a unit and a team, it started from the front to the back and we’ve been hard to break down. We made sure we got back to basics and I think that has reflected in the performances and results.

"Confidence is massive and once you start to put a couple of results together, which is so difficult in the Premier League, you build on that momentum and that is massive for a club like us."

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