Date:Friday March 24 2006
When Crystal Palace take on Derby County tomorrow they will face a player who has been linked with a move to Selhurst Park in the past. Michael McIndoe is thought to have come close to signing for the Eagles when he left Yeovil in 2003 – but preferred a move to Doncaster Rovers instead. The left sided midfielder shone in Rovers Carling Cup run this season scoring four goals, and Derby have now taken him on loan, with a view to a permanent summer transfer.
McIndoe, born in Edinburgh, joined Luton Town as a teenager and made his debut at the age of 18. Stories suggest that the young Scot had problems adjusting to life in England, with his choice of extra curricular activities and refuelling techniques only adding to his woes. McIndoe left Luton in the summer of 2000 having made nearly 40 first team appearances. A seemingly promising career was floundering. Unconfirmed reports attribute his departure from the Hatters to stories involving gambling debts and an irate underworld criminal family – either way McIndoe found himself at Hereford United and out of the Football League.
It is to his credit that he has progressed rapidly in the years since, earning a reputation as one of the most accomplished left footed players in the lower leagues. Although his fledgling Derby career is only two games old he has looked more than comfortable in the Championship. Recognised at ‘B’ level by Scotland he has confidently voiced his desire to break into the full squad. A strong end to the season with Derby could well make this a reality in the not too distant future.
Crystal Palace travel to Pride Park endowed with confidence following their accomplished midweek win over promotion rivals Leeds. With no new injury worries to contend with the only selection quandary for Iain Dowie will concern the ageing legs of Michael Hughes. If two games in a week are deemed too much for the influential Ulsterman there could be a homecoming for former Derby winger Marco Reich. The German proved popular during his time with the Rams, and if the curse of the returning player strikes again he could be worth placing some money on to score tomorrow.
It is the period of the season when stakes start to rise and hands are revealed. Alex Ferguson calls it “squeaky bum time,” and Dowie, although not the most poker-faced of managers, thrives in pressure situations. Palace still have to play Watford and Sheffield United, and will not give up the fight for second place until automatic promotion becomes mathematically impossible. Whether Michael McIndoe is backing them is unknown. But Palace should not bet against him playing well tomorrow.
Derby players to watch:
Michael McIndoe – would rather see him playing for Palace than against them.
Lewin Nyatanga – this young centre back is class, a Premiership star of the future.
Palace players to watch:
Marco Reich – will have something to prove . . . if he plays.
Ben Watson – consistently the catalyst for Palace. If he plays well so do they.
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