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Eagles boss out to maintain fine derby record
DOUGIE Freedman is looking to extend his excellent derby record as manager of Crystal Palace when his side take on Millwall this weekend.
The young boss has already enjoyed a 1-0 victory at Charlton this season and is looking to add the Lions to the list to give Palace fans the south London derby bragging rights.
Freedman was in charge when the Eagles claimed their first victory at The Den in 16 years last season and is now out to make sure Palace can pick up a first home league success over Millwall in a decade on Saturday.
However, he is the first to accept it will be no easy task.
Freedman said: “In the last couple of years since I’ve been here we’ve always done well in the derbies.
“In fact I don’t think we’ve been beaten in any so I’m very confident in that way, but it is different challenge.
“Kenny Jackett is a fantastic manager who prepares his teams very well.
“He will know exactly what to expect from us and he will be trying to throw in one or two surprise packages for us, so we’ve also got to respect him and make sure we prepare properly and are fully committed to this game.
“I expect it to be a tough game but it is definitely a game I’m looking forward to.”
Millwall striker Darius Henderson goes into the game on the back of two goals in the recent 2-1 victory over Bolton, although Freedman denies the Lions’ top scorer will be singled out for special attention.
He said: “We are confident in our back four unit. We don’t really single out any individuals who play for the opposition, we just feel the way we defend right now is good.
“We can get better and are working on that so whoever they may play on Saturday I think our defensive unit, which starts at the front, can cope with the Millwall attack.”
The last two home league games have seen Palace recover two-goal deficits to win 3-2 against Cardiff and 4-3 over Burnley.
It is certainly entertaining for the fans but the Selhurst chief is out to ensure there will be no repeat in the derby.
Freedman said: “We don’t want to give anybody a two-goal lead.
“We need to make sure we address that, it is something we’ve been working hard on over the last 10 days in the international break and I’m looking forward to seeing if it has been taken on board by the players.
“In the Cardiff and Burnley games we’ve been on top and then hurt by a little bit of quality.
“That’s what happens in this division, I won’t read too much into it.”
He added: “We’ve responded very well, which is the key thing.
“We’ve been positive around the place and I think the fans have been positive.
“Nobody gets on each other’s backs, it is exactly what I wanted to create within my squad and it is exactly the mentality I wanted to create around the club in terms of a never say die attitude and also that we can win games.
“It just shows you if we do go behind we’ve got the togetherness to go in front, win the games and see the game out as well, which is difficult.”
And Palace have been boosted by the news nobody has returned from international duty with injury problems.
Freedman said: “I can confirm everyone has come back.
“I would like to congratulate Wilfried Zaha for getting to the European Championships, I think it is great for the young English team. Hopefully Wilfried will be in that.
“Everyone has come back in good shape.
“I would like to congratulate Darcy Blake and Lewis Price but I won’t for a good win against Scotland.”
Jonny Williams didn’t travel with Blake and Price with the Wales squad after picking up a minor injury and Freedman isn’t entirely certain when he will be available again.
The boss added: “In the Burnley game he came on and I felt turned the game for us.
“He has a slight groin strain which has given him some problems. I can never quite put my finger on how long he is going to be out for. I don’t think it is long, he recovers very well.
“Fingers crossed he will be available soon but I can’t quite tell you when.”
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