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Gary Cahill keen to ‘push on’ after West Brom win edges Palace closer to safety

Cahill is one of several first-teamers, as well as boss Roy Hodgson, out of contract on June 30.

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Gary Cahill helped Crystal Palace keep a third clean sheet from their last four games with a 1-0 win over West Brom (Ian Walton/PA)

Gary Cahill helped Crystal Palace keep a third clean sheet from their last four games with a 1-0 win over West Brom (Ian Walton/PA)

Gary Cahill helped Crystal Palace keep a third clean sheet from their last four games with a 1-0 win over West Brom (Ian Walton/PA)

Gary Cahill says Crystal Palace are very close to achieving their first goal for the season but warned his team-mates not to drop off when they return from a three-week break.

The centre-back continued his fine recent form with another strong display in the 1-0 win over West Brom on Saturday.

Luka Milivojevic’s first-half penalty moved the Eagles 11 points clear of the relegation zone, but they have games against Everton, Chelsea and Leicester next month before fixtures with Manchester City and Liverpool in May.

“There are different goals but the first goal is to be in the Premier League next season,” Cahill said.

“It’s the responsibility for the club and us as players to do that and we’re very, very close now to doing that.

“We knew this was a huge game in terms of the result so it’s great that we delivered the three points and now we’re looking very healthy in the league.

“When we come back from the international break it’s about the desire to try and push on up the league with a very difficult run-in.”

Defeat to the Baggies could have seen Palace sucked into a survival battle, with memories of their eight-game winless end to last season fresh in the minds of some at the club.

Manager Roy Hodgson referenced that “worst run of my football management career” after their success against West Brom.

With no fixture now until April 3 – after the match with Manchester United originally scheduled for next Saturday was moved forward – the coming weeks appear a good time to make decisions over the players out of contract this summer.

Cahill is among them but reiterated his recent stance, adding: “Ever since I set foot through the door I’ve enjoyed my time, it’s a fantastic football club.

“I’ve spoken before, I’m relaxed about the situation. I think we’ll get towards the end of the season and see what both parties want to do. That’s a conversation to be had further down the line and then we’ll go from there.

“There’s no drama on my behalf, I’m very casual with it and delighted just to be back playing well and winning games for this football club, that’s the priority.”

Hodgson insisted the extended break for Palace would be spent using the time “as wisely as we can” but rejected the chance to reveal any update on his future.

Instead the focus remains on preparing for the trip to Everton next month and on making sure the Eagles are mathematically safe soon.

“We have had a very, very tough period,” Hodgson said. “We had the extra game thrown in against Man United and we had a three-game week before that.

“We had that in a period where a lot of our players have been missing through injury, so this will be a period where the guys who have been getting out there against all odds week after week can get a bit of time to get some extra rest.

“And, more importantly, we can spend time on the rehabilitation of those injured players so that when we play Everton, we have a stronger squad to choose from.”

Nathaniel Clyne (muscle), Nathan Ferguson (thigh), Tyrick Mitchell (muscle), James McArthur (calf) and James McCarthy (groin) are expected to be in contention for the trip to Merseyside in three weeks’ time.

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