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Eagles wing way to Belfast

July 14 2004

Cedric Berthelin

Cedric Berthelin

Iain Dowie took a squad of 22 players, including three new signings to Northern Ireland on Sunday, but trial goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, and French stopper Cedric Berthelin did not travel, by Joseph O'Shea.

Goalkeeper Julian Speroni, Mark Hudson and fellow defender Emmerson Boyce all made the trip to Belfast, where Palace will play Gavin Arthur's testimonial against Crusaders on Wednesday night and Glentoran on Saturday.

Speroni, 25, signed for £500,000 from Dundee last week is the only touring keeper, while having been left behind, Cedric Berthelinís days at Selhurst Park look numbered, although he may opt to see out the remaining year of his contract.

Hertha Berlin's out-of-contract Hungarian keeper Kiraly, 28, had his 48-hour trial at Palace's Beckenham training ground extended to four days last week, increasing the chances of him signing on a free transfer.

Hudson, Boyce, and youngsters Gary Borrowdale, Tom Soares, Tyrone Berry, Sam Togwell, Gareth Williams, and Ben Watson are added to last season's squad for the week-long tour.

The great news for Palace fans is that out-of-contract midfielder Michael Hughes, did travel to his homeland with the squad, suggesting he will put pen to paper on a new deal on their return.

But captain Neil Shipperley could miss the start of the season after a knee injury picked up in training forced him to return home early.

Palace return to face Woking, Ipswich, QPR, Portugese giants Sporting Lisbon and complete their Premiership pre-season preparations by hosting Sampdoria at Selhurst Park on Saturday, August 7.

Dowie said: "We have got Sampdoria, Sporting Lisbon, Ipswich away which will be tough and QPR away which will be tough, so they are a good range of games for me."

The touring squad: Speroni, Butterfield, Popovic, Leigertwood, Granville, Powell, Hudson, Boyce, Routledge, Hughes, Riihilahti, Derry, Shipperley, Johnson, Freedman, Black, Watson, Borrowdale, Berry, Soares, Togwell, Williams.

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