Holloway's hoping the Palace fans remember the Freedman good times
10:25am Friday 18th January 2013 in Crystal Palace
By Anthony Hay
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway has played down Saturday’s Championship reunion with Dougie Freedman by insisting “it is just another game”.
Former manager Freedman walked out on Palace for Bolton Wanderers in October despite the Eagles’ superior league position, and the fact he was worshipped at Selhurst Park as player - having made 334 appearances - and coach.
Holloway has called on Palace fans to respect Freedman as the Scotsman – who returns to SE25 for the first time since moving to the north-east – built the foundations for this season’s promotion challenge.
“I can’t wait for Saturday. I want our fans to be respectful because I think Dougie deserves that. I would like to think I would get a decent reception if I went back to Blackpool,” said Holloway.
“I think that is important in football. They should thank you if you’ve done a good job and they shouldn’t be nasty if they think you have left when you shouldn’t have, because they don’t know your life.
“Whatever he chose to do and why he chose to do it is his business. There’s not many times in your career when you pick up a team that is at the top of the Championship so I am delighted with that."
He added: “I can understand some of our fans might not have liked his decision and might not have understood it. But from my point of view I want to say he’s done a great job.
“Whatever has happened is my gain and I am going to try make the most of it. For me it is another game that we have a chance to get closer to the top of the table.
“The prize of Premier League football is what we have all got a sniff of and I am sure we would have taken that at the start of the season.”
When asked if his players will have an added incentive to get one over their old manager, Holloway replied: “I think they are focused and that’s a legacy of the last manager.
“Everything is running smoothly and they are disciplined and professional. What more can I ask for?”
Holloway is likely to hand loanee Jacob Butterfield his first start against 16th-placed Bolton as Palace look to address last weekend’s defeat to Burnley.
Moreover, Holloway needs a win to steady a Championship ship that is starting to rock with Palace having won only twice in eight League games since the start of December.
But Palace remain strong at Selhurst Park remaining unbeaten since the opening day of the season - including eight wins out of 14.