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May 28 2022 2.35am

Watford v Palace

Wembley Stadium, Monday 3.00pm

Aaron Wilbraham

Aaron Wilbraham

Team news

Crystal Palace have no new injury problems with Aaron Wilbraham again leading the line with top scorer Glenn Murray recovering from a knee operation.

Wilfried Zaha will be making his last appearance in a Palace shirt before he makes the switch to Manchester United in the summer.

Captain Paddy McCarthy remains out with a groin injury and full-back Jonathan Parr is sidelined with an ankle ligament injury.

Watford boss Gianfranco Zola will also select from an unchanged squad. Striker Troy Deeney will play after returning from a ban for the second leg semi-final.

He's likely to partner Matej Vydra in attack with Matt Briggs and Daniel Pudil vying for places in defence. Jonathan Hogg and Christian Battocchio will compete for a spot in midfield.


Roy Hodgson

"The most important thing about all of it is the performance. It is a wonderful day for everybody but we have to perform. We hold everybodyís hopes and dreams in our hands.

"I have done this a few times and we have adopted the way we did before. I think it will work. Doing this once in your life is fantastic but doing it three times, I am delighted. I thought we got it right at Blackpool. We got it right the second time too and played fantastically well.

"I am going to try and emulate what my other group did and see if we can do that for this group. My defeat last year filled me with pride because of the way we played, and thatís what I want this group to do. In an ideal world I want them to become Palace legends by winning this game.

"If they donít do that I want them to be remembered as the group that played brilliantly but unfortunately were unlucky and didnít quite do it. Promotion would be another notch in my football bedpost. It would be a magnificent achievement for everybody at Crystal Palace.

"I am just glad I didnít completely muck it up. Now we are at a fantastic stage where we are starting to get to know each other and understand how I wanted to add to what they were doing and not take away from it.

"I inherited this team and want to try to help them so I am just excited about whatever happens, working with them and helping them through a scenario like this.

"How lucky am I to have a third chance to go to Wembley, with a different group this time, and play in the biggest game in football other than the Champions League final?"

Jonny Williams

"I grew up watching Chelsea and Zola really was one of my footballing heroes. The way he moved and his technical ability was fantastic. He was the player I just loved to watch and the play-off final will be quite surreal.

"After the long injury lay-offs I've had, to come back in and start has been brilliant. Since the change of manager I've played centrally, out wide and played deeper in the midfield, and I think learning those positions has been great for my development.

"I was in the crowd when we beat West Ham in Cardiff last time and I still remember it vividly. To be part of a team that has got there is crazy, exciting and a massive honour."

Kevin Phillips

"Iíve been to three play-off finals at Wembley with three different clubs and lost them all. People say itís the best way to go up, but as I know only too well, itís also the hardest defeat to take.

"You play for an extra three weeks when everyone else is on the beach and put in all the hard graft but when you lose, all that effort has been for nothing.

"In two of those three finals, the better team lost. Blackpool deserved better against West Ham last year and in 2007, when West Brom lost to Derby, we felt hard done by as well.

"And my other play-off final, at the Ďoldí Wembley, happened to be one of the most amazing football matches Iíve ever been involved in (Sunderland were pipped in a penalty shoot-out by Charlton after an epic 4-4 draw).

<a href='page.php?id=111&player=1084'>Kevin Phillips</a>ďWhen I was growing up I used to dream of scoring at Wembley and I went into that game under extra pressure because I needed one goal to beat Brian Cloughís post-war goal-scoring record for Sunderland.

"I had 40,000 people, one half of the stadium, singing my name when I did it and 35 goals in a season made me feel 10ft tall. But the bottom line is that we lost and 15 years later Iím still waiting for the play-offs to be kinder to me.

"Thatís why Iíve been telling the younger lads to make sure they enjoy the occasion and to take it all in, because these big games come and go so quick and you might never get another chance to play in one.

"Last year, after Blackpool lost, I did look back as I left the pitch and wondered if that was my last time at Wembley as a player. When you are in your late 30s and you know your career is not going to last forever, you treat every game as if it were your last.

ďIíll be turning 40 in the summer, so to get back-to-back appearances in the play-off final, with so much at stake and the financial rewards involved, is pretty remarkable. All I ask this time is for a different outcome.

"Thereís no need to go chasing new contracts or anything Ė letís just see where we are after Wembley and let events take their course.

"But what I will say about Ollie is that Iíve never come across a person who is so passionate or enthusiastic about the game. He took a bit of criticism at Blackpool for being too gung-ho in the Premier League but tactically he is cute and the players all know their jobs.

"Our win at Brighton was no accident Ė we outwitted them tactically and in the end they ran out of ideas. That was down to the managerís game plan.

"Iíll always have a soft spot for Watford because they were the club who took a chance on me. I owe Watford a hell of a lot Ė they made my dreams come true.

"If I score on Monday, I hope Watford fans accept that itís nothing personal and what will be, will be. But Iím owed a happy ending at Wembley before I call it a day Ė somehow my career wonít feel complete without it."

Yannick Bolasie

"Wilfried is the best dancer at the club but the shuffles Wilfried can do, the gaffer can do as well. Not a lot of people can do it and the boys like it. If we win, the gaffer might do it on the pitch at Wembley! His philosophy is he is trying to help us and the more he helps us, the more we help him.

"We [him and Wilf] have been linking up well and trying to hurt the opposition. We have both got skills but I use my tricks differently to him. I would rather go direct and beat the opponent quicker. But everyone loves Wilf though and enjoys seeing him play. It inspires all of us. He is going to Manchester United and a lot of our young players look up to him.

"My parents still talk about the Hull fans, who were great and had a good time when Palace lost in the play-off semi-finals in 2008. They said then that they hoped I could play in a play-off final."

Julian Speroni

"I would love to play in the Premier League again, it would be a dream to do it with Crystal Palace. Weíll take one step at a time and hopefully we can take it. Iíve never had the opportunity to go Wembley so this will be my time to now. We want to be in the Premier League for the fans."

Watford - league stats

Position Played Won Drawn Lost Points
3rd 46 23 8 15 77

Full league table

Watford - current form

Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
8 3 2 3 13 10

Full form table

Last five results

Date Type Home Team Score Away Team  
08/02/2013 League Watford 2 - 2 Crystal Palace draw
18/08/2012 League Crystal Palace 2 - 3 Watford loss
18/02/2012 League Crystal Palace 4 - 0 Watford win
15/10/2011 League Watford 0 - 2 Crystal Palace win
01/02/2011 League Watford 1 - 1 Crystal Palace draw

All time results

Last meeting

Watford 2-2 Palace

Friday February 08 2013

Watford: Almunia, Doyley, Hall, Pudil, Cassetti, Chalobah (Battocchio, 89), Hoban, Abdi, Hogg, Deeney, Vydra (Forestieri, 65)

Subs not used: Murray, Yeates, Bond, Eustace, Geijo

Goals: Abdi (6), Chalobah (14)

Bookings: Hall, Pudil, Cassetti, Chalobah, Deeney

Palace: Speroni, Ramage, Moxey, Delaney, Dikgacoi, Bolasie (Phillips, 54), Marrow (Williams, 46), Richards, Dobbie (Butterfield, 85), Murray, Zaha

Subs not used: Price, O'Keefe, Wilbraham, Parr

Goals: Ramage (66), Phillips (70)

Bookings: Marrow, Murray

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