But even Warnock could not have anticipated a stunning six-minute second-half treble from the former Grimsby defender, which dumped out the Premier League side 3-1.
The immediate reward is a lucrative fifth-round visit from Aston Villa on Valentine's Day which could boost the Selhurst Park coffers by £400,000.
But the bigger picture could see an investor persuaded to come forward to buy the club that chairman Simon Jordan has been trying to sell since July 2008.
"It would be about time," said Warnock, who revealed his players were paid January's wages a couple of hours before kick-off.
"I feel sorry for Simon. He's tried and tried to sell the club. There are not many supporters like him, prepared to throw away £25-35million.
"He's not coming to games at the moment - I don't know why. I told him he could sit on the bench and no-one would notice him.
"One or two people blame him for the 10-point deduction but if anyone is going to blame him it should be me for losing 10 points when I thought we could go up. But I don't blame him at all, I know how hard he has worked.
"So hopefully now someone else will come in. There is excitement here now.
"We're going back to basics. No prima donnas, none of the stories you see on the front pages these days. This is real football."
Warnock fended off bids for other players on deadline day, with Nathaniel Clyne turning down a move to Wolves.
He also used his programme notes to hit out at Chelsea and Fulham for "disgusting" offers for some of the club's youngsters.
"Clyne nearly went," he added. "I was disappointed with the offer that was accepted but thankfully he didn't want to go.
"And the money we would have got for him, we have now got from the cup run. You can't blame Wolves for offering two and six."
Wanderers boss Mick McCarthy saw Karl Henry pull a goal back at the death but took nothing away from Palace.
"They have used all the negatives that have conspired against them to make it a positive," he said. "They deserve their chance in the next round."