Dowie backs Ventola to shine

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Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie still believes Italian striker Nicola Ventola can play an important part in the club's battle to avoid relegation.

The hit-man joined The Eagles on a season-long loan deal from Internazionale but has been blighted by a succession of injuries.

Ventola has yet to start a game for Palace and is just returning to full fitness after five months out with an ankle complaint.

However, Dowie is confident the 26-year-old can still make a crucial contribution for the South Londoners.

"Nicola has got enough time to make an impact this season," Dowie stated.

"He's doing well, training every day. Maybe another two weeks of that and then he'll be back in the frame.

"But I'm not going to jeopardise the lad's future just for Palace's survival.

"I wouldn't do that - it's not right and I couldn't look him in the eye."