The fixture computer could not have picked a worse time for Watford to travel to Crystal Palace, it turns out.

But then hindsight is a wonderful thing - after a run of five points from 11 games, who would have foreseen the Eagles' ability to register wins over Middlesbrough and away at West Brom?

Even the most ardantly positive Palace fan has been left contemplating trips Burton and Barnsley next year, with Sam Allardyce's arrival at Selhurst Park not even providing a dead cat bounce until the past three weeks.

Palace have spent big this season primarily to avoid the kind of campaign they faced last year, when Alan Pardew's side dropped like a stone the moment the Happy New Year fireworks of 2016 had died off, and they fell from fifth on January 1 to 15th come the end of the season.

That investment was added to in January with Patrick van Aanholt, Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp among the £30 million of mid-season spending.

And finally, things seem to be clicking. Perhaps Allardyce's methods take a while to sink in, as they did at Sunderland last season, or maybe the undoubted quality of their new additions has been the spark to get them firing again. Who knows - but Watford might just find out this afternoon.

Opposition view

Rob Warlow, who covers Palace for the Croydon Advertiser, expects the Eagles to pick up three points against Watford and thinks the club have finally turned a corner this season.

He told us: "The season has not exactly gone to plan so far for Crystal Palace. The Eagles have arguably the strongest squad they have had since returning to the top flight in 2013, but something hasn’t quite clicked.

"As a result, they find themselves battling to avoid relegation, although things have started to look up in recent weeks, with back-to-back wins against Middlesbrough and West Brom signs that they are now turning the corner under Sam Allardyce.

"The arrivals of Mamadou Sakho, Luka Milivojevic, Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp in January have given Palace a much-needed boost, with Sakho in particular standing out in his first two games for the Eagles.

"Palace will go into the game confident after two wins in a row, and will aim to make it three on the spin. I expect them to claim another three points here, which could go a long way to helping them survive in the Premier League for another season."

Team news

Hillingdon Times: Picture: Action Images

It appears van Aanholt will not be fit to feature against the Hornets so Jeffrey Schlupp looks set for his second start in Palace colours on the left of defence.

More good news for Watford comes in the shape of Loic Remy's absence, with the on-loan Chelsea forward not available until after the international break.

Elsewhere, Allardyce has an otherwise unchanged squad to pick from following their win at West Brom two weeks ago.

Man to mark

Hillingdon Times: Picture: Action Images

Wilfried Zaha has refound the form which took him to Manchester United back in 2013, and even before Palace's resurgence was looking a real goalscoring threat and he has five goals to his name so far.

Opposite Andros Townsend at the Hawthorns, the pair both proved far too tricky for a usually stoic Tony Pulis defence and both got on the scoresheet.

The Watford connection

Palace have somewhat of a hoodoo over the Hornets, with Watford winning only two of their last 13 meetings in all competitions.

But better news comes from the fact both of those victories were in their last two visits to Selhurst Park, including a 2-1 win last season.

Hillingdon Times: Picture: Action Images

Walter Mazzarri will also be boosted by the fact Palace have picked up only 10 points at home, losing nine times - more than anyone else in the top flight.

What they've said

Palace boss Allardyce has an unbeaten run firmly in his sights - and understandably, with his side still only a point clear of the bottom three.

He said: "For me it's about trying to go undefeated for as long as possible now. We're disappointed if we draw matches, but it's still a point. 

"We have to be at our very best, 100% every game between now and the end of the season. We can't let that drop off."