Palace fans will not derail Morrison bid, says Dowie

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Palace's manager is expected to complete the signing of the club's former striker from Birmingham today after Morrison arrived at the club's training ground yesterday to undergo a medical before a £2m move.

Morrison has been poorly received by Palace supporters when he has returned to Selhurst Park with Birmingham in the past - but Dowie insisted such animosity would not affect his decision.

Dowie said: "I wouldn't take the reaction of the fans as a swaying factor in which player I sign. As a manager you have to be brave enough to make decisions you think are right.

"Decisions made on the transfer front will be what I consider to be right for the club. But I would be amazed if he didn't get a good reaction when he comes back. He has scored a lot of goals for the club and he deserves a good reaction."

Dowie's stance is in stark contrast to the West Ham manager, Alan Pardew, who revealed earlier this month he had abandoned plans to bring back former Tottenham striker Frédéric Kanouté to the club after the move had prompted hostility among supporters. Kanouté subsequently joined Seville.

Palace appear to have won the race for Morrison, 26, who scored 71 goals in five seasons during his first spell at the club.

The Republic of Ireland international was also courted by Palace's Championship rivals Southampton and Norwich.

He left Palace in July 2002 to join Birmingham in a deal worth £4.25m, but never really showed his best form, scoring just 14 times in 87 league appearances.

But Dowie's assistant manager, Neil McDonald, revealed earlier in the week Morrison was precisely the type of player Palace were seeking.

He said: "Clinton Morrison is an international footballer who scores goals. We need a player like that - someone who can work in the box and put the ball in the back of the net."

Should he complete his move, Morrison would link up in attack with England striker Andrew Johnson, who originally joined Palace as part of the deal that took Morrison to St Andrews.

Dowie said: "Clinton is a good player and we would love to add players to our squad. Don't forget the club received nearly £5m when he was sold in the first place."

Richard Cresswell is targeting automatic promotion with Leeds after completing his £1.15m transfer from Preston. The 27-year-old scored 21 goals last season as North End reached the play-off final.

"I got to the play-off finals with Preston last year and now I want to go one better and go up automatically this season," said Cresswell, after signing a four-year contract at Elland Road.

"Coming to Leeds, with the players we've got here, we've got to have a chance of taking one of the top two places - and I'm assured that's the aim."

Cresswell spurned an approach from Sheffield United to join their Yorkshire rivals, and Blades boss Neil Warnock claimed: "It seems a coincidence that Leeds go in for everyone I'm after."

But the player said: "I wanted to keep my options open for a bit ... at least until I knew Leeds had a bid accepted, because that's what I was waiting for.

"As soon as I knew that had happened, I was straight up the road to speak to the gaffer about his plans for me and the squad. Once you come to this place and see the surroundings it makes your mind up."

Stoke have agreed a fee with Standard Liège for striker Sambegou Bangara. The Potters will hold talks with the 23-year-old Guinea international's agent about personal terms this week.

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