Striker Freedman is Town loan target

EXCLUSIVE: Dougie Freedman is the top loan target Blues boss Joe Royle hopes to secure next week.

EXCLUSIVE: Dougie Freedman is the top loan target Blues boss Joe Royle hopes to secure next week, writes Derek Davis.

The Crystal Palace striker hit a spectacular goal in front of the watching Royle as the Eagles' Reserves went down 2-1 to Coventry City at Nuneaton Borough on Wednesday night.

Royle was running the rule over the 30-year-old Scot before trying to secure him before Burnley's visit to Portman Road a week tomorrow.

The Town manager, who took the Blues level top at Coventry last Sunday, confirmed he was at the City/Palace reserve match last night, as were Ronnie Moore and Paul Sturock but was staying tight-lipped about Freedman.

He said: "I was at the game but that is all I'm prepared to say. Nothing will be happening this week and nothing is signed or agreed for next week.

"There is no urgency. There is nothing wrong with the team at the moment so it's not a matter of fixing anything.

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"If we get someone in they have to be as good, if not better than we already have as I'm not bringing any one in to be a back-up."

Palace would be prepared to allow Freedman to go out on loan as they showed last month when they gave Leeds permission to talk to him and former Arsenal winger Tommy Black.

Freedman rejected the chance to join Leeds last month but with opportunities at Palace remaining extremely limited he may be willing to take the plunge soon.

The Glaswegian has made just three appearances for Iain Dowie's side this season, and scored just the one in the League Cup against Hartlepool.

He is a firm fans' favourite at Selhurst Park – he scored the goal which kept them in Division One in 2001 and has played an important part in helping them move into the Premiership.

In his two stints at Palace he has made more than 250 appearances and is keen to notch 100 league goals for the club, another reason for his hesitancy to leave.

The last time Palace were in the Premiership in 1997, Freedman was sold to Wolves for £800,000, a move he regrets. And despite falling down the Selhurst Park pecking order, his nine top-flight goals for Nottingham Forest have convinced him he can score goals at this level.

Last month he gave his reasons for turning down a move but left the door open for a departure.

He said: "I have been here before and I left and it was the wrong decision. This time I want to give it a shot and if I have to wait a little bit longer I will.

"I believe in my ability and if my chance does comes I want to take it. I am not frustrated just yet but maybe in a few months time I will be."

Freedman will be remembered by Town fans for the part he played in the 4-3 thriller, which Ipswich won at Selhurst Park a year ago, when he netted twice.

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