Freedman: A Good First Game

Manager says this weekend's game against league-leaders Cardiff is the perfect opportunity to assess his side

Dougie Freedman has thoroughly enjoyed his first week in charge of Wanderers and is looking forward to the challenge of facing league-leaders Cardiff City on Saturday.

Freedman has already claimed a victory over this weekend’s opponent this season, after Crystal Palace overturned a 2-0 deficit at Selhurst Park in September. Though it was a different story last season when the manager’s Palace side lost a two-legged League Cup semi-final against the Bluebirds.

The 38-year-old expects a tough opening fixture against Malky Mackay’s side, but the new boss believes the game will give him a perfect yardstick of how far away his team are away from the leading pack.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Freedman said: “Through my experiences, I have learnt that every game in this division is difficult.

“Cardiff are a good hard-working team who have got quality in top areas, and if you put these ingredients together you have a quality side and they find themselves top of the league.

“But from a selfish point of view I am glad this fixture has come quickly as it is going to tell me how far we are away in playing and points total, and it will tell me exactly what we have got to do and where we have to strengthen to climb up the division.

“This week has been brilliant. I have really enjoyed it. I have worked with the players this week and they have been fantastic, they have been really responsive to what I have been asking of them.
“I believe that through my development training that we will improve and within this week there has already been some very small improvements, but it will take time to put my ideas in place.

“There has been a fantastic attitude towards working. I believe I have judged them this week and how their attitudes are and it has been different class. They have turned up and they have worked at it. They won’t be able to pick it up in five minutes, it will take time and it will improve them as players.”

With three fixtures in a week, Freedman will be hoping to give as many players as much playing time as possible as he continues to assess the large squad he has at his disposal.

He added: “The Championship is a very intense league and from the team that starts on Saturday, it is highly unlikely that we’ll play the same side on Tuesday against Leicester.

“My experience tells me that you shouldn’t be afraid to change the team in the Championship. So I will be using my whole squad over the next month and I will be very surprised if everyone doesn’t get game time.”
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