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Bolton Wanderers: The Return Of The Freed

Crystal Palace
Bolton Wanderers

Selhurst Park

19 Jan 2013


Morning everyone. So bit of a mix up with the last few days, as holiday preparations and such may have got a little bit in the way. So you know, I`m away for the next week, and I am leaving you in very trusted hands. Watch this space. No, Quentin isn`t back already. Although he`s already thinking of a new pseudonym just in case.

So, the game is on. Its freezing, and Selhurst Park has no undersoil heating, but they`ve managed to keep the game on schedule. Good news for all you who will have already set off and may be reading this on the way.

Palace have had a very good season so far, mainly (it must be said) on the back of work down by our very own Douglas Freedman in his over two years at the helm. His replacement, Ian Holloway, has bags of experience of getting and keeping teams performing in the Championship, and it is no surprise to me that the transition hasn`t affected league position. They look a cert for the playoffs, and could even still sneak an automatic place.

I`m really quite jealous, that should be us. I suppose we can look at the Palace side as an example of how quickly a team in this division can change from strugglers to masters. It was only last year when they were struggling to stay up.

Vital Quotes:

I think Dougie shares my sentiments about the minor differences between the Palace he left, and the one he will face.

He told the club website: "I`m looking forward to the game because the way we`ve performed in recent matches fills me with a lot of confidence. Crystal Palace haven`t made too many changes to their playing squad; they`re still doing well and still picking up results.

"I spent a long time down there, both as a player and a coach, and I expect to come up against a very similar team to the one that I left behind; one that`s very tough to break down. I`ve seen their players at close quarters but I`m concentrating on us and making sure that we`re set up in a way that gives us the best possible chance of winning the game. The game against Sunderland gave us a reminder that we are good enough to compete at a high level."

Crystal Palace Team News:

An almost fully-fit squad is available for Olly to pick from. Jacob Butterfield, who we all we know well from his spell on loan at the Reebok, has just joined the Eagles on loan himself. Whilst there were flashes of promise, I don`t think we saw the best of him.

Player to watch: Zaha

Who else? The recently capped England international winger was a target for us last winter, and I think we wish we`d got him. I don`t think he`s Arsenal or United quality, but he`s certainly a Premier League player with plenty of skill and potential. He won the penalty that lost us the game in the reverse fixture, so he`s already shown he can break through the Wanderers defence with ease. Fingers crossed Dougie knows his game like the back of his hand, and has got our shaky backline prepared.

Bolton Wanderers Team News:

Sam Ricketts and Keith Davies have late fitness checks, whilst Mark Davies and Wheater are still out. It looks like our new signing Craig Davies might get a chance, but its our other 'new signing` that I`m much more excited about……

Player to watch: Holden

I was ridiculously excited when Stu came on midweek, as I imagine you all were. If we can get another twenty minutes out of him today, then I`m sure he`ll be ready to start in the cup next week. I think I`m more excited about Stu then about my holiday, and that is no exaggeration.

Match Facts & Stats

Apparently, Palace haven`t lost a home game in their last twelve. This is grim reading, but surely it means they`re overdue one?

Match Prediction:

I think we`ll do it. 1-2. Buoyed by the result in the cup, I think we`ll find a new confidence in our play. Or so I hope.

Next Fixtures:

Everton next week. After which, I can probably return to my pessimistic self.

Date:Saturday January 19 2013
Time: 12:08PM

Best of Vital Network


I'm not sure palace will even make the play off positions, they have undoubtedly done very well so far but as they are likely to lose players whether to transfers or injury and their squad does not have strength in depth I think they will drop away. Today will be the start with a newly confident whites taking all three points. Ps have a nice holiday al.
19/01/2013 12:43:00
Why change a winning team? Oh yes because you can.
19/01/2013 15:07:00
Well no three points, but Jeff Stelling has just told me that the 0-0 meant we got our first away clean sheet in 32 matches. We can at least take some heart in that. No sign of Holden either - but I bet we see him against Everton. Have a good holiday Al!
19/01/2013 16:58:00
Too cautious today. 4 strikers on the bench but Dougie won't gamble. Good to get another clean sheet but a point a game's not enough.
Skopelos Chris
19/01/2013 17:03:00
Not what we wanted but better than many expected. I agree far too cautious we need to start two up front. There aren't many in this league can cope with our attacking strength but its never utilised. Still im not complaining.
19/01/2013 17:10:00
Happy with an away draw and clean sheet against one of the "top teams" ;-)
20/01/2013 09:24:00
The return of the Freed went well and he got the respect he deserved from the majority of their fans. Sounded to me like he set out "not to lose" rather than to get 3 points but respect to him and the defence. If Coyle or HWSNBN ever get re-employed I am sure they will not be accorded the same welcome at the Reebok! BTW Mr Editor. When are we going to see the return of current stats and polls? What is the problem? Get some advice off Mr X or VitalPalace.
20/01/2013 11:23:00
Was a bit annoyed/confused to see Holden wasnt even on the bench, but hey, wadda i know.....
20/01/2013 12:36:00
goals win games, winning gets you the points towards promotion, 4 strikers on the bench with better scoring credentials than SKD or Pratley tells the story. Simply not good enough very poor management, we need our best players out there now, stop the dillydallying, the gap is getting bigger, our chances are slipping away fast. I don't want to see us miss out by 3 or 4 points come season end, rather we miss by a mile but gamble and take the attack to our opponents
aussie mike
20/01/2013 12:56:00
I like the the rest of you am wondering two things: one, why we keep sticking with skd on his own up front when to me we should be playing two strikers and drop spearing(some of you may disagree) and two, what has happened to our ed. Has he gone on hols leaving us with a poll nearly so old it should have super john mcginley on there or has he like our attacking intent been locked up and made to watch from a safe distance for fear of something nasty happening. Stay tuned next week to find out more.
20/01/2013 14:46:00
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