Mile Jedinak says his Crystal Palace FA Cup final side on Saturday will “have no fear” when they face Manchester United at Wembley.
Jedinak looks likely to start the final ahead of James McArthur to help Crystal Palace deal with the aerial threat of Marouane Fellaini. It will mean that the Socceroos international captain will become the first Australian to lead out a team at an FA Cup final.
Fellaini was banned for the final three Premier League games of the season, including Tuesday’s re-arranged fixture against Bournemouth, but is available on Saturday and Palace are wary of his threat.
Jedinak was outstanding in the semi-final win against Watford, winning several towering headers when Palace faced late pressure.
Interviewed this week, Jedinak denied that the disruption to United’s big-match week, following Sunday’s bomb scare at Old Trafford, would give Palace any great advantage.
“I expect as a footballer you just get on with how it is,” Jedinak said.
“It’s having some disruption on their schedule in terms of training and having days off… I guess it is not ideal for them. But that’s how things have been dealt and you just have to put up with it.
“They also have a huge squad which they will use to good effect and I still expect them to come into the game on Saturday fully ready and all guns blazing.”
The midfielder almost left Palace to join Stoke in September before signing a new deal, and now he is relishing the chance to perform on the biggest stage.
Palace might not be quite in the 5,000/1 odds offered on Leicester City to win the Premier League – United are odds-on to win the Cup in what could be manager Louis van Gaal’s last game in charge, at 1/3, with Palace a best price at 9/4 to lift the cup – but the example of the underdogs, or under-Foxes, defying all the odds to lift the title will have been the talk of the Eagles’ training ground this week.
“We have a strong belief at this club because on our day we can match up with most teams and we may be underdogs at Wembley this weekend but we are not just going there to enjoy the ride or the day,” he said.
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