FREEDMAN FACES ANXIOUS WAIT

Crystal Palace have a virus-hit squad ahead of tonight's Carling Cup semi with Cardiff.

Last Updated: 10/01/12 at 21:47

Freedman: Concerns over several players

Freedman: Concerns over several players

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman will spend the early part of today dreading a phone call from the club doctor with more bad news about his virus-ravaged squad.

Freedman goes into tonight's Carling Cup semi-final first leg with Cardiff at Selhurst Park waiting to hear if any more of his players will be struck down by the virus which has hit his playing resources in recent matches.

Freedman was forced to field some of his younger players for the FA Cup third round tie with Derby, which the Eagles lost 1-0 at the weekend, and he fears the effect the absence of his more experienced players could have on their hopes of earning a place in the final at Wembley next month.

Freedman has decided to leave it as late as he can before he names his team.

He said: "I will not know my team until 5pm (on Tuesday). At the moment I am just dreading a phone call in the morning from the doctor."

If it is bad news Freedman will turn to the younger players in his squad, but is not concerned about drafting them in.

"I will take no risks with any player who is not 100 per cent fit. I have no worries with playing young players and never have done," Freedman told the Croydon Guardian.

"What worries me more is putting out players who aren't fully fit."

Freedman fielded a forward line of Calvin Andrew, Antonio Pedroza and youngster Kyle De Silva against Derby, while there were also debuts in defence for loan signings Mustapha Dumbuya and John Egan.

Freedman admitted: "Hand on heart, I was forced into making changes. I gave youngsters debuts and it just shows you that is what we do at Crystal Palace - we give people opportunities."

Freedman has seen his squad ravaged by the virus which has affected Julian Speroni, Paddy McCarthy, Anthony Gardner, Nathaniel Clyne, Mile Jedinak and Sean Scannell.

Goalkeeper Speroni is expected to be fit but the remainder of the group trained away from the rest of the main squad today.

He said: "Things can always be worse and that's the challenge, we could be losing heading into the second leg with these problems.

"The players have been coming in throughout the day and have trained in different units."

Cardiff beat Palace 2-0 in the league meeting at the Cardiff City Stadium on November 5, but City boss Malky Mackay added: "I don't think either club will be looking too much at the league fixture now though.

"I don't think the fact we won on that day will be of any significant benefit to us going into Tuesday night, while I think both clubs now know each other quite well.

"I would think it will be a tight affair."

Mackay received some welcome news on the injury front ahead of the game with defender Kevin McNaughton and striker Rudy Gestede set to play.

McNaughton picked up a calf injury on Boxing Day but has trained for the last three days and is fit to return, while Gestede is expected to recover from an ankle problem after being given as long as possible to prove his fitness.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Capital One Cup Fixtures

Wednesday, 28 January 2015
19:45
Sheff Utd v Tottenham  

Footer 365

Capital One Cup: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to avoid a red card

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to stay on the field in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists Diego Costa does not deserve retrospective action after Emre Can stamp

Jose Mourinho thinks Chelsea's Diego Costa should be left alone to play football after a controversial outing on Tuesday.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea reach final as Branislav Ivanovic's goal sinks Liverpool

Branislav Ivanovic's extra-time goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 aggregate win over Liverpool and a place in the Capital One Cup final.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company