Crystal Palace scrap friendly with Portsmouth at St George's Park

Pompey’s pre-season friendly with Crystal Palace has been scrapped.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:55 am
The Hawks represented Pompey's second pre-season friendly. Now the following fixture with Crystal Palace has been scrapped. Picture: Paul Collins

The Premier League side have pulled out of Friday’s scheduled St George’s Park fixture in a move which has frustrated Danny Cowley.

Following his recent appointment as boss, Eagles manager Patrick Vieira had given the green light for the encounter to go ahead.

However, Cowley was contacted by Palace’s sporting director Dougie Freedman on Monday afternoon informing him Palace were now pulling out.

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Now they won’t meet on the football pitch – with Cowley attempting to come up with replacement opposition.

Pompey’s head coach told The News: ‘We found out at lunchtime on Monday that Crystal Palace have cancelled the game, which is disappointing and frustrating in equal measure.

‘To be fair to Dougie Freedman, they obviously have a new manager. Patrick Vieira initially agreed to play us, but I think they have picked up some injuries and are waiting for others to come back from international duty.

‘As a consequence, that has changed our plans for this week. We will now try to get another fixture for Friday.

‘We have a fantastic facility, referees and a lovely surface – now we need an opponent.

‘The problem is most teams have a game this weekend. We are lucky, we have this facility and I am sure it will entice someone.

‘It happens in football, it happens more often than it should, but it does happen.

‘We’ve got a good relationship with Crystal Palace and Dougie Freedman is a good guy. I know it wasn’t a call that he wanted to make to us.

‘It’s frustrating, but I do understand the situation at Palace.’

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Pompey have so far faced QPR and Hawks as part of their pre-season build-up.

Palace were meant to represent their third summer friendly, albeit behind closed doors.

Yet Cowley is determined to find a replacement and avoid wrecking preparations for the 2021-22 campaign.

He added: ‘We would like another game, otherwise it would change our plans.

‘We work to quite a strict and tight schedule, trying to get somewhere around four or four-and-a-half games into the players’ legs during pre-season.

‘We would like the fixture, but will just have to wait and see how it pans out.

‘Finding the right game is as important as anything. If we can’t find the right fixture, we’ll adapt and we’ll train instead.’

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