This is what Crystal Palace need to do this summer to progress

Written by Mark Silverstein

Unless there is a dramatic pick up in results in the last two matches of the league season, Palace will be most definitely limping over the finishing line in the league. Hopefully we have done enough to avoid relegation but there is no getting away from the fact that for half the season our results were of Aston Villa like quality.

Yes, we have stayed up (fingers still crossed) and of course we are in a FA Cup final for only second time in our history, but if I were the captain of the good ship Crystal Palace, I would be seeing alarm bells ringing all over the place for next season.

For a football supporter I am not too superstitious or fixated by historical precedent, so I am not too perturbed by the fact that the last three "smaller" clubs in FA Cups finals have all been relegated the same or next season after the final. I am also not too bothered by the fact we have never stayed in the top flight for more than four consecutive seasons.

What I am worried about is the alarming drop in form which coincided with a bad run of injuries (and a bit of bad luck thrown in). Specifically: 1) our squad is not getting any younger - so who is to say that we will not have a similar run of injuries next season; 2) the run of injuries has shown up that our back up players could not maintain the same quality level - the results speak for themselves and 3) with the exception of Souare and Wickham (I am not counting Cabaye as he was very much a known quantity) our recent signings have not really improved the squad or shown massive future potential - combined with an ageing squad - this is a real worry for next season.

To be confident of staying in the division next season, we are going to need to sign a good quality centre back, defensive and attacking midfielders and a striker. These are not necessarily players to go straight into the first team in every position, but they need to be good enough or have the potential to at least maintain the standard of our current first team and hopefully improve it over time. So, not quite a full squad overhaul but I would say more than just the tinkering that has been done since the end of last season (excepting Cabaye of course).

Adding to the list of worries is that lack of any real quality players coming through the academy. I am still hopeful that at least one of Sullay Kaikai, Jake Gray or Hiram Boateng will break into the first team in the way that Wilf did six years ago but our recent track record has not been great.

I know that this may come across as a negative, moaning rant from a spoilt supporter, unappreciative of the great things achieved by the club since 2010, but that is not my intention at all. I still have to pinch myself sometimes; we are on course for a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League, we are in a FA Cup Final for only the second time in our history (and fully there on merit given the clubs we have played in each round) and have some of the most talented players who have ever graced the red and blue of the Crystal Palace kit.

However, I just hope that all that success does not distract the owners and management from the fact that next season could be very tough for us, if we do not take a very hard look at our squad over the summer. Steve Parish & Co. have got very little wrong so far, so I will remain optimistic.