(Sporting Alert) — Wilfried Zaha is amongst the starters tonight for Crystal Palace as they take on Brighton in the Championship play-offs semi-final first leg at Selhurst Park on Friday night.
Zaha, who will join Manchester United at the end of the season, starts in the attack alongside Jonathan Williams and Glenn Murray as Crystal Palace look to move closer to promotion to the Barclays Premier League next season.
Kagisho Dikgacoi, Mile Jedinak and Owen Garvan also start in midfield for Palace, which finished fifth in the standings during the regular season.
Manager Ian Holloway is expecting a tight and physical contest between the two arch rivals over the two legs and says it’s good for the fans.
“What it means to the supporters is just immense. Both sets of supporters really, really don’t like each other and believe me I do understand that now. What I can’t do is get caught in that,” Holloway said.
“I’ve got to try and get the lads focused on their team strengths and they’ve got an awful lot of them. But we are ready to go at them with a slightly different plan and see if it works.
“We are looking at their strengths and they are pretty good at the moment. They are in a good run of form. But from my point of view, I’ve got to try and identify what we didn’t do well enough at their place when we got beat.
“We’ve looked at all of those things, but that was then and this is now.”
Meanwhile, Gus Poyet makes five changes to the Brighton side which beat Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday with Wayne Bridge returning and Will Buckley and Andrea Orlandi replacing Kazenga LuaLua and Ashley Barnes.
Crystal Palace v Brighton
Crystal Palace team: Speroni, Ward, Delaney, Gabbidon, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Garvan, Williams, Murray, Zaha
Subs: Price, Bolasie, Phillips, Wilbraham, O’Keefe, Ramage, Moritz
Brighton Team: Kuszczak, Calderon, Greer, Upson, Bridge, Bridcutt, Lopez, Hammond, Buckley, Ulloa, Orlandi
Subs: Ankergren, El-Abd, Crofts, Barnes, Vicente, Painter, LuaLua
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)