GOALKEEPER Jack Butland believes he has rediscovered his best form at Crystal Palace and is excited about Tuesday’s reunion with old club Stoke in the FA Cup.

The one-time England international showed his improving confidence with another fine display in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley where he crucially tipped Wout Weghorst’s second-half header over the crossbar.

Given the 29-year-old has started every cup fixture this term, he is set to get the nod again in midweek and will get to show Stoke supporters his error-strewn final years with the Sky Bet Championship side are a distant memory.

Your Local Guardian: Crystal Palace goalkeeper Jack ButlandCrystal Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland

“I do certainly feel I am back at my best and now I am getting the chances to show people that,” Butland said.

“I think the minute I came to Palace it lifted a lot of stress if you like and I did immediately feel at home because a lot of players here I knew, I knew the (previous) management and goalie coach.

“There were a lot of people I knew so I settled in really quick and felt back to my best really quick.”

Butland was signed by his former England boss Roy Hodgson in October of 2020 after he lost form during his final campaign with the Potters.

After he made only two starts in his debut season at Selhurst Park, the former Birmingham stopper has earned more opportunities under Patrick Vieira – despite an error at Millwall in January – and made his ninth appearance of the term at home to Burnley with Vicente Guaita recently nursing minor injuries.

“I am loving it,” Butland insisted.

“A lot of people will think because I haven’t been playing, am I enjoying it but for me I have loved every minute since I have been here.

“I knew I had to be patient because the goalkeeper ahead of me has been doing well and chances don’t just get given out whether you deserve them or not.

“You have to bide your time and I feel I have done that. I guess I am being rewarded with some opportunities at the minute and just doing my best to take them.”

Your Local Guardian: Crystal Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland is looking forward to facing Stoke CityCrystal Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland is looking forward to facing Stoke City

Next up for Butland and Palace is the special prospect of facing Stoke again for a place in the last eight of the FA Cup.

He left during the coronavirus pandemic and Tuesday’s tie will act as a chance to properly say goodbye to a club where he spent seven and a half years and enjoyed plenty of highs before relegation in 2018.

Butland added: “For me personally, it will be great to play against Stoke and see some ex-team-mates and staff members I spent a long time with.

“To see the fans again will be great as well and I am looking forward to the game. For us we are looking to go on a cup run and keep that going so I want us to win but it will be good from a personal note to see some old faces.”

Victory over Stoke would put Palace one win away from Wembley, with Butland last playing at the national stadium almost four years ago in a friendly against Italy before he lost his place in the England set-up.

“It is a really important game, one that despite what we are trying to achieve in the Premier League we are all desperate to win, so I am sure we will be strong,” the nine-cap international said.

“We will get our recovery in and be ready. We all know the FA Cup is special. We are looking forward to it and hopefully getting a win to put ourselves in the hat for the next round.”

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