July 18, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has challenged Sierra Leonean forward Sullay Kaikai to break into the club’s first team ahead of the start of the English Premier League side.
The Palace gaffer included the academy graduate in his pre-season squad in their tour of the USA and wants the young forward and Ghanaian midfielder Hiram Boateng to use the opportunity and prove their worth for first team action.
Kaikai, who was born in London to Sierra Leonean parents and is still eligible to play for the Sierra Leone national team, Leone Stars, had an outstanding first half of the season loan spell with League One side Shrewsbury Town, where he scored 12 goals in 29 games.
The 20-year-old was recalled from his loan spell with the Shrew before Palace’s final two Premier League matches against Stoke City and Southampton. He also got the nod by Manager Pardew in Palace’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup Final last season.
“They have got a big step to make,” said Pardew to the Croydon Advertiser. “Doing well on loan in League One is all well and good, but getting into a Premier League team and in front of internationals, it will be very, very difficult for Sullay and Hiram.”They are pushing hard, but it’s a big hurdle for them to overcome. I don’t think our fans should expect them to overcome it, but if they do, it will be a massive bonus for us.
“Both do have great talent, though, and I do think they will make the group at some stage. Whether it’s the start of this campaign we’ll have to wait and see.”
The Sierra Leone youngster scooped the Crystal Palace prestigious Vice President Young Player of the Year award for the 2015/16 league season and was also named the Sky Bet League 1 Player of the Month for March for his goal scoring attribute while on loan to Shrewsbury.