Premier League - Mariappa eyes centre-back role

Adrian Mariappa admits he must fight to convince Tony Pulis can be a regular at centre-back in Crystal Palace's Barclays Premier League relegation battle.

Summer signing Mariappa started the last five games of Ian Holloway's reign at Selhurst Park, but has dropped behind Damien Delaney and Danny Gabbidon since Pulis' arrival.

The former Watford and Reading defender featured at right-back against Cardiff and in the 2-1 loss at Chelsea after Dean Moxey's hamstring injury.

Mariappa is happy to slot in as required, but conceded his long-term goal remains returning to the centre of defence.

"I'm supporting them, I want them to do well," Mariappa told the South London Press of Delaney and Gabbidon.

"At the same time I'm trying to train well and put a bit of pressure on them.

"Any player wants to play but all the lads are definitely behind the team.

"Everyone wants us to win because we want to stay in this league.

"We all know that chances will come and injuries happen throughout a season."

Mariappa felt Palace were unfortunate to come away from Stamford Bridge with nothing in their weekend league defeat.

He said: "We were playing against one of the best teams in the league and the way we played against them showed how far we've come this season.

"We merited a point."