Freddie ready to soar

Freddie Sears has admitted he cannot wait for the new season to begin after joining Crystal Palace on a season-long loan deal.

The West Ham United striker has flown the Boleyn Ground to join the Eagles until the summer of 2010, and he is itching to start banging in the goals for the Coca-Cola Championship side.

Sears, a prolific marksman for the Hammers' youth and reserve teams, signed a five-year contract with West Ham last September. While manager Gianfranco Zola sees the teenager's long-term future at West Ham, he believes Sears will benefit greatly from a full season of regular first-team football with Palace.

The speedy forward himself agrees, stating his intent to fire the south London club back into the Barclays Premier League after a five-year absence.

"I can't wait at the minute," said Sears, who returned from his summer holiday to complete the deal. "I want to get a good pre-season behind me and then go from there.

"I'll get more experience from playing week-in, week-out in front of fans at a good standard of football. I think getting a good run in the team and starting to get some goals should be good."

Sears will work under experienced manager Neil Warnock at Selhurst Park, and the striker revealed that the Palace boss has told him he will be given every chance to impress in what is a tough, physically demanding division.

"He said I'll play and then see what happens and hopefully we'll have a good season there," he added.

"It's a good league. You see the teams coming up getting stronger and stronger and there are a few big teams in there like Newcastle and Middlesbrough so it should be a good challenge.

"I think it will be a bit more physical. I don't think it will be faster as the Premier League is probably the fastest league. I'll just have to get stronger and see what happens."

Sears is the latest in a succession of promising Academy graduates to spend a period away from Chadwell Heath. Last season James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Josh Payne all returned from loan spells to force their way into Zola's first-team reckoning.

Reserve team captain Bondz 'Gala and England Under-19 skipper Jordan Spence also went out to MK Dons and Leyton Orient repectively, and Sears is eager to emulate them by learning from the experience of playing in unfamiliar surroundings.

"I think having spoken to them that they had a good time out there and they've come back stronger and hopefully I can do the same," he added.

Sears was linked with loan moves to Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday and Peterborough United, but he believes Palace will offer him the best chance to improve his all-round game over the coming season.

"I wasn't too bothered where I went but I knew a few of the lads at Palace so it was a good mix of youth and experience there so it interests more," said Sears, who plans to return to the Boleyn Ground to cheer on his West Ham team-mates whenever the opportunity arises. "The fact that it is in London is just a bonus."

"I think starting most games will be good. Even if I go there and play 30 games that would be good.

"I will still be at the West Ham games to see how the lads get on."