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Kevin Phillips blogs on derby days and clashes with Fulham and Arsenal

Kevin Phillips - Kevin Phillips Posted 15th October 2013 view comments

Every game means so much for us at Crystal Palace at the moment, given where we are in the league, but upcoming London derbies with Fulham and Arsenal at Selhurst Park are certainly going to have an extra edge to them.

I've not experienced many London derbies in my career but whenever two neighbours come together there's added spice, with the fans on both sides creating great atmospheres and ramping up the pressure on their players to get a result.

Palace: celebrated play-off semi-final success over rivals Brighton last season

Palace: celebrated play-off semi-final success over rivals Brighton last season

These matches will be no different.

Unquestionably, though, the biggest derby I've played in has been the Tyne-Wear derby, when I was at Sunderland.

Both Newcastle's St James' Park and Sunderland's Stadium of Light hold such big crowds and when they're packed to the rafters on derby day it is incredible to be out on the field.

A big derby win can have a huge impact on your season.

Kevin Phillips
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The noise knocks you off your feet, while the build-up - which has been going on all week - really adds to the occasion.

Fiercest

I always find it strange that at the start of the season fans immediately check to see when they're playing their local rivals and start talking about what might happen.

For many of them they are the biggest games of the season and, although Fulham and Arsenal aren't Palace's fiercest rivals, the crowd will certainly be up for it when we host Martin Jol's side on Monday and take on in-form Arsenal next week.

I played against Palace's biggest rivals, Brighton, last season and I was surprised by how intense it was - especially as they are more than 40 miles away from each other.

These two games coming up should be pretty lively affairs as well!

Hopefully we can get a much-needed win against Fulham and then go into next week's match with Arsenal with plenty of confidence and on form, because they've started like a house on fire and will be a real test.

My old club Sunderland showed last season what a derby-day win can do to you when they beat Newcastle 3-0 in one of Paolo Di Canio's first games in charge and then went on to secure Premier League survival.

A big derby win can have a huge impact on your season.

Focus

But, from a player's point of view, we will just be focusing on the game-plan this week.

The international break came at the right time for us after a few disappointing results and hopefully we can come back fresh and firing on Monday night.

Quite a few of the lads were away on international duty but those of us who weren't did some hard training in the middle of last week before having a few days off and returning to the training ground on Tuesday.

When everyone's back on Wednesday or Thursday we'll turn our attentions to Fulham and a run of games which are going to vitally important to us.

With the Sky cameras at Selhurst Park for Monday Night Football there will be plenty of storylines going on with the players and both managers under pressure and it's going to be a huge night.

I'm pretty sure with our crowd behind us we can turn in a sterling performance and hopefully surprise Fulham and get three points, which we really need at the moment.

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