Trio will bolster squad ahead of Owls visit
Crystal Palace do not have a single league point on the board, but manager Dougie Freedman is feeling positive ahead of the visit of Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
The Eagles announced three new signings ahead of their trip to Middlesbrough last weekend, with Yannick Bolasie, Andre Moritz and Darcy Blake all joining the club and, with more signings expected, Freedman’s squad is starting to take shape.
Palace, who are currently bottom of the table, have lost all three of their games in the Championship so far.
Wednesday are Palace’s next opponents. The Owls are unbeaten in 17 games under manager Dave Jones and are sitting in second place after two wins and one draw.
There is a lot of history between the two clubs, with Crystal Palace relegating Wednesday on the last day of the 2009-10 season after a 2-2 draw at Hillsborough.
Freedman is relishing the tie and said the season is truly under way now that he has a fuller and healthier squad to choose from.
“I felt that in the first couple of games we were a little unfortunate, especially against Watford, but we made a few signings and I felt that our season really began up at Middlesbrough,” he said.
“I thought the performance was good and I know the players and staff are excited for Saturday’s game as we feel that we can now compete at all levels, and the fans can see that, and that is why they are excited for the next game.
“Every game is a great test in this division. We feel that we have a squad that is capable of beating anybody, especially at Selhurst Park.
“Sheffield Wednesday will come here having spent money and added to their squad but now, having added a few players, we have done the same so we are evenly matched.
“Hopefully we can get a couple more signings over the line this week.
“As usual we need to make sure they are the right type, the right ones, and we are working very hard on that.”
It was a mixture of patience, great timing and a helping hand from an old Palace legend that helped Freedman bolster his squad last week with a hat-trick of signings.
Bolasie, Moritz and Blake all joined the club last Friday, and Freedman was delighted to have them on board.
Bolasie, 23, who has signed from Bristol City, was a long-term target for Freedman.
He said: “We have looked at Bolasie for a long time. We believe he is the right age and we got him for the right price. We believe he has all the ingredients to be one of the best wingers in this division.
“We had to wait, but we got there in the end. He has great pace, is very direct and is a great crosser of the ball and it won’t take long to see his quality.”
Moritz, 26, who signed on a free transfer, was on Freedman’s radar after he spent some time at Rangers.
“We knew about Moritz after a tip-off we got from Rangers. He was doing very well up there and the contacts I had said he was very good,” he said.
“I found out that his agent in England was Palace legend Andy Gray, so I contacted him, told him to do me a favour and bring him to Palace and the rest is history.”
Darcy Blake, 23, who signed from boyhood club Cardiff City, represented great value for money according to the Palace boss.
Freedman said: “He is a Welsh international, very good value for money at £350,000, and he can play anywhere across the back four or sit in midfield.”