Lennie Lawrence: Dougie Freedman deserves a standing ovation on return to Selhurst Park
LENNIE LAWRENCE says he feels Dougie Freedman should receive a standing ovation on his return to Selhurst Park this week.
The former Crystal Palace management team return to SE25 on Saturday with Bolton Wanderers, just two months after they departed for the north west.
At the time, there was animosity from the Palace fans over the departure of Freedman, followed by Lawrence, first team coach Curtis Fleming and youth team coach Jamie Fullarton.
But the Eagles' former assistant manager is looking forward to making an "emotional return" to Selhurst Park, where he hopes the fans will acknowledge their contribution.
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He said: "I think the reaction we get will be interesting.
"I know what we should get, but what we actually get is a different matter and we will see how it pans out."
Lawrence added that in his opinion, Freedman should receive a standing ovation for what he did for Palace as both a player and a manager.
"I always say you should judge a manager on how he leaves a club," he said.
"And when Dougie left, Palace were in the top six with a good squad of young players and a sensible wage bill.
"He also had a terrific record in local derbies and in home games and when you consider what he inherited and how he left it, he did a pretty good job."
Lawrence himself said he enjoyed his time at Palace, reflecting on the 21 months with the Eagles as "one of the outstanding" periods of his long career, which has seen him manage several clubs, including Charlton Athletic, Middlesbrough and Cardiff City.
He also added that during his time at Palace, he felt the management always had a good rapport with the fans, adding that he hoped fans would remember the good times.
He said: "The fans were always good to us and we were good for them.
"They were supportive during the difficult times and they enjoyed the good times with us.
"But fans pay their money and they will do what they want to do. They will dictate what sort of reaction we will get, but all I would say is think about what we did beforehand."