Manager: Concentrate On Our Game

Ahead of a first return to Palace, Dougie Freedman is solely focussed on his own side's performance

Bolton travel to Crystal Palace this weekend fresh off the back of the midweek FA Cup victory away at Sunderland.  

The npower Championship clash against the Eagles marks Dougie Freedman’s first trip back to his former club and the Bolton boss is well aware of the threats that the Ian Holloway’s side are likely to pose, having been in charge of the Selhurst Park club for nearly two years.

But Freedman, buoyed by Tuesday night’s win at the Stadium of Light, is looking forward to the match and is expecting another positive performance from his Whites.

Speaking at his Thursday press conference, the manager said: “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.” 

It wasn’t just the FA Cup third round victory that pleased Freedman on Tuesday night; Stuart Holden also made his long-awaited return from injury against the Black Cats.

And Freedman admitted that he is delighted to have the American available for selection again: “On Tuesday I was probably just as excited about Stuart Holden coming back into the team and getting some game time as I was about the result. 

“It was a wonderful occasion for the fans to see him make his return. Hopefully he’ll continue to progress and will be a regular fixture in the first team soon.

“I still think it will be two or three months before we see Stuart back to his best, but him getting on the pitch at Sunderland was a big psychological hurdle and he came through that.”

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