NEIL DANNS helped Crystal Palace maintain Championship status three years ago – now he’s eager to help Huddersfield Town do the same.
Along with Alan Lee, Sean Scannell and James Vaughan, the midfielder is among a quartet of former Eagles players who could come face to face with their old employers tonight.
Danns, 30, admits he has a huge soft spot for the South London side and is delighted to see them pushing for promotion to the Premier League.
But as he returns to the frame alongside fellow Leicester loanee Jermaine Beckford after the pair were ineligible for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against their parent club, his focus is firmly on helping Town claim a first win in 13 league games.
“It’s great to be back and trying to gain a place in the team,” said Town’s only transfer window recruit to date.
“My time here so far has been a bit stop-start, but I’m fit and raring to go and hoping to be involved tonight.”
Danns played 114 times in three seasons at Palace after joining from Birmingham for £600,000 in 2008.
And along with Lee and Scannell, he was in the thick of things during the traumatic 2009-10 Championship campaign, when Palace went into administration, and a 10-points deduction turned a promotion push into a scrap at the other end of the table.
“We’d just arrived for a midweek game in Newcastle when we found out about losing the points,” he explained.
“It turned the season on its head, but we had some great leaders, like Sean Derry, Clint Hill and Alan Lee, and in Neil Warnock, a manager who is one of the biggest characters of them all.
“We had supporters staging protests in central London in a bid to keep the club alive, and we kept battling away so that we went into the final game of the season at Sheffield Wednesday needing a draw, which we achieved (Lee scored in the 2-2 stalemate).
“We only just avoided relegation, but it almost felt like we had won promotion.”