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Crystal Palace vs. Bolton Wanderers

Selhurst Park

19 Jan 2013

15:00

Bolton Wanderers: The Return Of The Freed

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.




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The Journalist

Writer: AlParklar Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 19 2013

Time: 12:08PM

Your Comments

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.
Boltongav
Why change a winning team? Oh yes because you can.
Boltongav
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!
robmoss2k
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
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.
Boltongav
Happy with an away draw and clean sheet against one of the "top teams" ;-)
ChicoryCoffee
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.
Pedro1874
Was a bit annoyed/confused to see Holden wasnt even on the bench, but hey, wadda i know.....
swedebwfc
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
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.
Boltongav
When did we sign Keith Davies? And what's up with the polls?
Muur
if the priority is winning and I assume management share this view, why did the winning team at Sunderland not turn out at Palace ? you can understand tinkering with a losing team but if something is not broken and delivers the result what the f-ck is going on !! Maybe pandering to the managers ego, or those of senior players holds more importance - something behind the scenes is influencing team selection, otherwise it simply does not add up - too many crocs in the swamp and not enough points on the board = failure.
aussie mike
Hard to quibble with a clean sheet and a point away at a team in the upper reaches of our league. Would have been more than acceptable a few weeks ago. However, we are 12 points off the play-offs and 8 points off bottom 3 with still a negative goal difference. We are most of the way through January and will start to run out of games. We do really need to start winning games rather than setting up to avoid defeat and having 4 strikers on the bench is not going to do that; pretty sure nobody has ever scored while sat in the Doug-out. Was disappointed yesterday on two fronts; 1) keep the team that turned over PL opposition 2) have the confidence to go for it, put out an attacking team & risk a good win or possibly a defeat (frankly we have had so many of those that another one would not matter that much if we gave it a try - see my question about it being better to lose 1-0 or 7-6). It's time Dougie went for the Escape To Victory attitude and tell the lads they can do this rather than follow Stallone down the bath at half time. OC was never seen in public without a spade; let's hope DF does not see any reason to head off to B&Q.
FredMadagascar
I agree that we need to start going for broke here. It all seems too guarded and there really isn't any point holding out for elusive clean sheets and hard earned away points at this stage. Also, endless tinkering with the team is not helping. If we are to stand any chance whatsoever of getting back up this year we need to to a) try and get a momentum going and b) impose ourselves on teams.
Skopelos Chris
Wasn't finished there, trying to type on an iPad and submitted by mistake, anyway we have our injured and very influential players coming back plus the new Davies and whoever may still be signed. We need to use them and go for it... As aussiemike says might as well miss by a mile as lose out by giving the other lot too much respect By the way we probably will miss out by a mile anyway!
Skopelos Chris
we need goals and that means sharpening our attack, SKD is not an out and out goalscorer, results with SKD leading the attack have been poor. I would play N'Gog with Sordell, Eagles and Craig Davies, that gives you pace and insertion, lads who can run at defences. With Holden feeding the forwards from midfield together with Mark Davies. The great late Joe Mercer always claimed attack is the best form of defence " today lads we are going to defend in their half " Tottenham illustrate that style. Fred has clarified we are 12 points off the playoffs, that means we need 4 wins over and above whatever all the other teams achieve, with only 18 games left we have to suddenly start finding at least 2 goals a game, I say play 4 out and out strikers and ditch the style that has consistently failed us, a new attack force is long overdue.
aussie mike
 

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