Crystal Palace V Watford at Wembley Stadium : Match Preview

27 May 2013 08:47
Crystal Palace V Watford - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Jedinak: Palace can go extra mile

Crystal Palace skipper Mile Jedinak insists Monday's npower Championship play-off final against Watford is too close to call.

The Hornets will kick off at Wembley as favourites to secure promotion to the Barclays Premier League having finished five points above Palace and taken four points off them during the season.

But Palace were also big underdogs when they travelled to arch-rivals Brighton in the semi-final and triumphed 2-0, and Australia midfielder Jedinak believes they can pull off another surprise on the biggest stage.

"Both teams won their respective semi-finals in dramatic fashion and it's going to be evenly poised," he said.

"If we're going in as underdogs then so be it, but in my mind it's 50-50.

"We've got a plan we will be working on and hopefully we can execute it the way we did at Brighton."

Wilfried Zaha's two goals sank the Seagulls and the winger will be playing his final game for Palace before completing a #15million switch to Manchester United.

"Wilf has got all the plaudits and rightly so, he's had a great season and he had a great game against Brighton," added Jedinak.

Manager Ian Holloway is relieved the build-up to the game has centred around the match itself without any sub-plots.

Holloway was accused by some Palace fans of not understanding their rivalry with Brighton prior to the semi-final, which was marred by excrement being left in the Eagles' dressing room ahead of the second leg at the Amex Stadium.

The play-offs could also have thrown up meetings with Holloway's former club Leicester or a Bolton team managed by his predecessor at Palace, Dougie Freedman, who only missed out on a top-six spot on the final day of the season.

"It's not Leicester, who I failed with, it's not Bolton with the previous manager and it's not Brighton, who our fans couldn't stand it if we lost to them," said Holloway.

"It's Watford, they're pretty middle of the road really. We don't really hate each other or we?"

There is no chance of Watford ditching their commitment to attacking football if they get promoted, according to their longest serving player Lloyd Doyley.

Scepticism surrounded the Pozzo family when they took over Watford last summer, but the appointment of Gianfranco Zola as manager has eased those doubts and the Hertfordshire club are favourites for the #120million Wembley showdown.

Zola wowed crowds with his silky skills during a glittering playing career and he has brought that mantra to Watford, where his team play free-flowing attacking football in a 3-5-2 system.

Wigan's commitment to attacking football won them many friends during their time in the Premier League, but it was not enough to save them from the drop last season.

Doyley, who has been at Watford for 12 years, insists that does not mean Zola will be scared to retain his attacking philosophy next year, should his team gain promotion, though.

"I can't see the boss doing that to be honest," the Watford defender said. "He likes us playing attacking football, no matter what team we play.

"We played Manchester City in the FA Cup this year and we still played three up front. We kept playing the way we wanted to play."

Doyley has gained cult status at Watford thanks to his commitment to the club.

The defender came through the club's academy and has never once considered leaving during a 12-year spell at Vicarage Road.

Doyley, known as 'Lloydinho' to Watford supporters, was in the side that gained promotion to the top flight via the play-offs in 2006.

Unlike this time around, Watford sailed through the play-offs. They swatted Palace aside 3-0 in the semi-finals before beating Leeds by the same scoreline at the Millennium Stadium.

"When we last won it we went in to the game very confident. We always knew we were going to beat Leeds, even though we lost against them a couple of times in the league," Doyley said.

Watford narrowly missed out on automatic promotion when they lost to Leeds on the final day of the season and they needed a dramatic 96th-minute winner from Troy Deeney to overcome Leicester in the second leg of their semi-final.

To avoid being on the wrong end of an upset on Monday they will have to keep Wilfried Zaha quiet.

The Eagles forward, playing his last match before leaving for Manchester United, scored twice against Brighton to send Palace through to the final, but Doyley is confident of keeping the England international quiet.

"We have (kept him quiet) twice already this year," Doyley added.

"He is a good player, but we have got a lot of good defenders in our team."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44