JACOB Butterfield reckons the furore surrounding Dougie Freedman’s return to Selhurst Park was to blame for the nip-and-tuck nature of Saturday’s game.
The England Under-21 midfielder got a quick reunion with Wanderers, just weeks after ending a loan spell with the club to pick up a new option with Crystal Palace.
And he admits the atmosphere he walked into – with Freedman back in South East London for the first time since leaving for the Reebok – made for a difficult debut.
“I think you could sense in the place, the fans and maybe even a few of the players that there was a bit of extra spice to it, with Dougie’s return,” he said.
“I think it affected the game. It made it a bit more cagey. The football was probably less free-flowing.”
Butterfield was actually making his third debut in just five months, having previously turned out for his parent club Norwich City, Wanderers and now Palace.
And having played for two months at the Reebok, he wasn’t surprised by the resolve shown by the Whites, particularly in the second half as the Eagles turned the screw.
“Towards the end we needed to get on the end of something,” he said. “We were so close a lot of times.
“I know Bolton really well. They have got a lot of good players but they make it really hard for you. They drop in behind the ball and it’s hard to break down.
“If we could have got a goal it might have loosened the game up a bit but they did what they always do, so overall I think we can be happy, but unfortunate not to win.”
Butterfield left Wanderers at the start of the month having made only four starts and four substitute appearances in two months. But despite Freedman not taking up the option of extending his loan, it is understood he left the club on very good terms with the manager and has not ruled out a return in the future.
For now, the Yorkshireman is looking to carry on the progress he felt he made in the North West.
“When I went to Bolton I needed a run of games and I didn’t fully get that – I was kind of in and out,” he said.
“But I was starting to find my feet. My fitness was improving and I was getting better, but Norwich wanted me to continue developing. I’m here for a month now and I’d like to think they would want me back in the picture there. I suppose it’s up to them.”