James Daly: I really rate Stuart O'Keefe
JAMES Daly's Crystal Palace column for the Croydon Advertiser, in the paper every Friday and online on Saturdays
FINE, I'll admit it. And this will take a big gulp of pride swallowing for me to do. But I feel it's only fair to be truthful. Yep, it's time for me to admit that Stuart O'Keefe is alright. Even half decent at a push. Fine, I'll say it: he looks pretty aces!
Now you see, that was hard for me to admit on account of my assistant at FYP – one Andrew Street – having so much mad love for O'Keefe that I'm confident it's more than all of the former Southend midfielder's family combined. And because I generally live my life by the ethos that anything Streety says is wrong and basically doing the opposite to him in every way then I've gone big on the SOK bashing.
Which wasn't hard when he wasn't getting much game time or, that when he was getting minutes on the pitch was about as effective as a Weight Watchers milkshake in KG's fridge.
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But of late O'Keefe has started to blossom into a useful midfielder, and it's driving me crazy!
It's no longer that easy to brush off another half decent display, and it's looking like he'll be part of the team for some time to come. Against Ipswich on Saturday, O'Keefe was arguably man-of-the-match, sweeping up in the middle, putting a foot in and dispatching well to Sean Scannell and Wilfried Zaha on the wings.
Okay, it wasn't that difficult to look good alongside the lumbering KG, but even when the South African was replaced by Owen Garvan, O'Keefe continued to hold his own in the middle.
It was a timely display from the 21-year-old with Freedman already looking forward to next season and with positions up for grabs. With KG failing to inspire and Garvan seemingly unflavoured, O'Keefe could well find himself in the midfield spot next to the impressive Jedinak (and don't get me started on him, I took countless abuse when I slagged him off on a national newspaper's website only for the Antipodean to come good big time).
And if O'Keefe does get that regular spot, you know I'm never going to hear the end of it from Mr Street.