LONDON (Sporting Alert) — With a massive £120m at stake for the promoted team, both Crystal Palace and Watford will be pushing hard to win today’s npower Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium.
Manchester United-bound Wilfried Zaha, who scored two goals in the semi-final second leg against Brighton is seen as the main man for Crystal Palace and the England winger overcame a nagging ankle injury to start.
The Eagles are unchanged from the side which won the last time out, as top scorer Glenn Murray is out with an injury so Aaron Wilbraham, who has scored just one goal since joining them last July leads the attacking line.
Watford boss Gianfranco Zola makes two changes from the side which pulled out a stunning win over Leicester City in semi-final second leg, as both midfielder Jonathan Hogg and defender Daniel Pudil both come into the starting team.
Cristian Battocchio and Matt Briggs make way for Hogg and Pudil.
The fans are gathering and both managers took the time to talk about the build up.
Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway, who won promotion to the English Premier League through the play-offs path with Blackpool in 2010, talks about what it would mean to the club should the Eagles they win.
“I have already seen and felt what it would mean to Crystal Palace fans,” Holloway told BBC London 94.9.
“If it is achieved then it might mean a new ground, which is the vision of the owners.
“We have got a chance of everybody’s dream. It is a different planet and off the chart.”
Watford manager Zola, whose side stunned everyone at reaching this close to gaining EPL entry, believes victory tonight would be a step closer to where the club wants to be in the future.
“The owners want Watford to become an established team in the Premier League and with time our ambition is to be a European team,” the former Chelsea star player said.
“There is a long way to go. Don’t forget that we are in the Championship, but that is the type of people (the Pozzos) are.”
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Garvan, Williams, Zaha, Wilbraham.
Subs: Price, Richards, Ramage, Bolasie, Phillips, O’Keefe, Moritz.
Watford: Almunia; Doyley, Ekstrand, Cassetti; Anya, Chalobah, Hogg, Abdi, Pudil; Deeney, Vydra.
Subs: Bond, Hall, Briggs, Yeates, Battocchio, Geijo, Forestieri
Referee: Martin Atkinson