Opposing View - Crystal Palace
What were your hopes and fears at the beginning of the season?
Fears would be that we'd simply start the season in the way we have done for the past few years and knowingly be involved in another relegation battle. The hope was Dougie could take the best of how we ended last season, and get rid of the worst and improve us further - either tactically or by changing personnel.
Thankfully, to everybody`s credit, we were right to hope!
After a couple of hectic seasons you must be pleased to be in the top-half at this stage?
Delighted with the start we've made. We've done better that I actually hoped we would. For many fans like me, we'd have been pleased to see the signs of things changing and improving on the pitch this season even if it took a bit for results to follow, but we've had in the main both performances, sparks and the results haven't been too bad either.
Outside hopes of maybe a play off battle are entering the thoughts of fans and players, and worries about another relegation scrap are consigned to history at the moment. Top half come the end of the season would be brilliant but we'll have a dip at some point, we are by no means the finished article yet so we've got to keep looking for more improvement and consistency before we get carried away.
I might feel differently in another couple of months, but I'd still be well pleased with the improvement that would come with a middle of the table finish for this season. Anything more than that really would be a bonus and testament to the change that has occurred with Dougie at the helm.
How well has Dougie Freedman done so far?
I can't fault a thing so far. He more than has the fans behind him, so things that went wrong at the latter end of last season were just written off and ignored as learning such is the faith and belief we have in the bloke. You could argue his honeymoon period, given how we've started this season, has actually been extended now.
As a manager he's developing, learning, improving and trying things and he will only get better.
What was your reaction to the signing of Glenn Murray from rivals Brighton?
I thought it was a brilliant deal. A quality player, good experience to offset and the help the youngsters we have coming through like Zaha, on a free transfer and with a wage the club is more than happy with from a financial point of view.
Their loss was very much our gain.
How big a part have the loan arrivals of Aleksandr Tunchev and Peter Ramage played in your positive start to the campaign?
They've played a good role in shoring up our defence and providing the basis for us to open up more in attack. In terms of loans it would have been nice to hang onto McGivern as well for longer, but I'm hoping that we'll be able to get these two for the whole season and then maybe look at permanent moves in the summer. A steady backline is always helpful, but that's the risk you run with defender loans.
Where will you finish this season?
I'd be happy, as above, anywhere comfortably between 10-14. Anything more than that would be a bonus this season.
Who's the key man we should be looking out for?
Zaha would be the obvious one given the plaudits he's winning at the moment, but I would say Murray to be honest. Good form and finding the net in the past few games, so his confidence will be high and he'll be look for his scoring run to continue.
Score prediction for Saturday?
I'll go for a 2-1 sneak to us.
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