Howard disappointed by Palace
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Luton striker Steve Howard says that Crystal Palace underestimated his team.Luton striker Steve Howard says he was disappointed with Crystal Palace for underestimating his team as The Hatters surprisingly beat Iain Dowie's side in the opening game of the Championship season.
Mike Newell's men turned in a superb 2-1 performance at Selhurst Park after the Palace fitness coach John Harbin said in his programme notes that the fixture would be 'a bit like a cup final for them'.
The Bedfordshire outfit had been widely credited with having little chance against last season's Premiership club Palace, although goalscorer Howard says that such criticism spurred Luton on to prove their abilities in England's second flight.
"They underestimated us and a lot of teams will do that this season," said Howard.
"I was disappointed to see those things written about us in the programme and nor were we happy about some things written in the papers on Saturday morning which wrote us off.
"According to the programme it was our cup final, I don't know about that, maybe it's because they have just come down from The Premiership.
"We were very comfortable against them and I was surprised how easy it was to match them.
"Our expectations are for mid-table, we're not aiming just to survive though, as that would be negative."
Despite the criticism aimed at Palace by Howard, as well as his boss Newell, Eagles midfielder Michael Hughes insists that his side did not approach the game expecting an easy ride.
The Northern Ireland international, who was booked after just 12 seconds in Saturday's game, says the surprise result will come as a wake-up call for a Palace side used to the rigours of The Premiership.
"No way did we take them for granted, we didn't play well, they did and they deserved to win," said Hughes.
"I'm glad it has happened, it has hit us right between the eyes.
"This isn't The Premiership, we have to battle and scrap to earn points, we have to get better.
"It's such a tough league, with 12 teams good enough to go up.
"I've never made a statement like we fancy our chances, though I believe we can be there or thereabouts.
"We also can't put all the emphasis on Andy Johnson to get us 30 or 40 goals."