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Freedman ponders changes for Burnley game
CRYSTAL Palace manager Dougie Freedman expects to utilise his squad to the full this weekend when Burnley visit Selhurst Park after some key players picked up minor injuries.
Star man Wilfried Zaha was replaced by Peter Ramage in the final minutes of Tuesday’s stunning 2-1 victory at Wolves with a tight hamstring after scoring both of Palace’s goals.
Ramage was on the bench after failing a late fitness test before the game, while Kagisho Dikgacoi wasn’t even in the final 18 for the Molineux trip because he picked up a groin/hamstring injury in last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bolton.
None of the injuries are considered major but Freedman is considering a cautious selection policy against the Clarets to make sure what are minor problems now don’t end up becoming more serious.
The Eagles chief said: “As we sit here now I think there may be a few changes on Saturday because young Wilfried came off with a tight hamstring with 10 minutes to go and KG has got a groin problem.
“Peter Ramage had a 50-50 chance of playing at Wolves and he just missed out and was on the bench, so it is going to have to be touch and go and this is where my squad are going to have to come into it.
“Last season I believe we didn’t have a lot of depth in our squad but this season we seem to be OK there so I’m going to have to use my squad very wisely come Saturday.”
Palace go into the game full of confidence after five wins and draw from the last six games, a change of fortune which has propelled them from the relegation zone to the brink of the play-off spots in the space of a month.
But despite the transformation in results, it has been business as usual as far as the manager and his coaches are concerned with nothing significant having changed.
Freedman explained: “If you had come to my training ground about a month ago when we’d had a few defeats you wouldn’t have known we were struggling to get a win.
“The place is a fantastic environment to work in, I get my coaching staff and try and created that mentality around the place.
“When we have a few wins there is no real change in the attitude.
“I believe the players believe in themselves, the coaching style and what we are trying to develop and I think that is shown in the results.
“There is going to be ups and downs in the season, we are working within a football industry where you are going to have to take a few defeats on the chin but it is how you react to them.
“I think our reaction to those three early defeats, our reaction to going two goals down against Cardiff and our reaction to going behind at Molineux just shows you what spirit we’ve got in the group.
“That is what I am looking for as a coach – how are you going to react to the ups and downs which football brings.”
He added: “It was only a month ago people were sitting here thinking safety would be fantastic so I don’t get too worked up about what other people think.
“Unless you know the whole picture and all the situations it is very hard to sort of have an opinion on what we should be doing.
“We are a team right now that is working very hard for each other, we are very fortunate we’ve got no injuries, we are very fortunate we are playing with one or two people in top form and the results are going for us.”
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