Dougie can prevent a repeat of last year's nervous finish
The last thing Palace fans would have wanted at the start of this season would have been to be facing another relegation battle as the season draws to a close.
But, with the memory of last May’s summer afternoon in Sheffield still fresh in the memory, it looks like Palace fans are in line for a few more emotional weeks.
As a Palace fan, the final whistle blew at Hillsborough that the Eagles would remain in the Championship brought an indescribable feeling of relief and pride that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
But I couldn’t begin to imagine what the six-hour coach trip back home would have been like had Palace been sent down to League One.
Palace have enough games remaining to prevent any case of déjà vu and they ended their away losing streak with a 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing Leicester City last night.
Having collected only their seventh away point of the season, Palace now have five games left to secure their safety.
I believe the pivotal match in Palace’s remaining fixtures will be tomorrow’s six pointer against third-from-bottom Scunthorpe.
Palace currently have a six point gap between themselves and their championship rivals, but anything less than a point for the Eagles would mean that they would have to get something out of their remaining two home games against Leeds and Nottingham Forest respectively.
Trips to Doncaster Rovers and Hull City mean Palace’s run-in isn’t easy, but nor is there reason for fans to feel negative.
With Dougie Freedman slowly establishing himself as the Eagles’ saviour once again, it isn’t just recent results that have been pleasing with the performance levels also high.
The home games with Derby County and Barnsley were both good games of football and Palace have come a long way from the string of bore draws earlier in the year.
Away from home, where results haven’t been good, the main highlight has been Palace’s vocal support and, whether we are losing or not, they make me feel proud to be a Palace fan.
These experiences are the reason why I follow Palace rather than a team who I can only see play via the television.
Dougie and his backroom staff, seem to have finally installed some belief into the players and I reckon it is only a matter of time before Palace finally get their second away victory of the season.
One area where Freedman is lacking in choice is up front as is demonstrated by the face he keeps picking Steffen Iversen.
At the age of 34, it seems to me that the Norwegian international’s long career has taken its toll and perhaps his fitness is in question.
Palace have lacked striking options since Clinton Morrison left, but it is difficult to know who Freedman should start up front alongside James Vaughan.
Jermaine Easter hasn’t really settled in south London, his only goal coming in the 3-3 draw against Reading - although it was a special one!
Pablo Counago hasn’t done anything special since his loan move from Ipswich Town in the summer.
With Calvin Andrew recently extending his loan stint with Swindon until the end of season, while Freedman tends to use Zaha and Scannell as substitute wingers.
That makes Iversen, by virtue of his experience, probably the best option Freedman has.
It is obvious that Freedman doesn’t have as many options as he would like, but he seems to have the cool head, that can steer Palace away from another D-day.
Having scored the goal which kept Palace up at Stockport County in 2001 and assisted Paul Hart in Sheffield last year, Freedman can even further secure his place in Palace folklore by doing it for a third time.
In this section
- Palace sitting comfortably
- Eagles still in period of transition
- Palace blog: Positivity the key for Eagles
- Clyne shows what might have been for Bostock
- Freedman should follow Warnock's lead in dealing with Zaha
- Palace give cause for cautious optimism
- A Spurs Olympic win would be a disaster for Crystal Palace
- Stadium move will benefit Palace
- Is Freedman the right man for Palace?
- Time for Palace to turn over a new leaf