Palace striker Aaron Wilbraham admits he has dreamed about winning at Wembley – and says he wants to do so for his injured teammate Glenn Murray.
Wilbraham has been limited to just four league starts this season as a result of Murray’s prolific form in front of goal. But with the 31-goal hitman out of action after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Brighton, Wilbraham hopes he can fill the void left by Murray’s absence, when the Eagles face Watford on Monday for a place in the Premier League.
Wilbraham said: “Obviously Glenn is disappointed and I think the lads are disappointed for him. It’s a shame because he has scored all those goals that helped get us to that position in the league, so we’ll be trying to get the right result for ourselves and for Glenn on the day.
“The gaffer has mentioned in the past the lads who can’t be involved like Glenn, Paddy McCarthy, Jonny Parr – they are so frustrated not to have this chance to go and do the job, so we have got to try and do it for them.
“Obviously I’ve had to be patient and wait for my chance. With Glenn scoring all those goals you just have to hold your hands up and be a bit-part player for the team really because he’s been on fire. Now that I’ve come in, I want to do well for the team and help get us the right result.
“I can’t wait. I don’t think any of the lads can wait for the game now and obviously we are all really excited and focused ready to go out there and play.
“Getting to the Premier League would be unbelievable – that’s what all the lads want and everyone in the league wanted at the start of the season. Now we have a chance to do it. We’ve got a 50-50 chance in the final and we’ll be doing all we can to win it.
“Of course you think about what it would be like to score, or to win, but nothing’s done yet until you get the result, so we are just focusing on that really. Watford are a good team, they play good football but so do we, so it should be a really good game.”
Wilbraham came on for Murray in the semi-final first leg stalemate against Brighton at Selhurst Park on 10th May, before playing all 90 minutes of the 2-0 win at the Amex Stadium three days later.
And the 33-year-old believes Palace will take a lot of positives from that performance into Monday afternoon’s Wembley showpiece.
“It was obviously great to be a part of that night,” Wilbraham said.
“We owed it to the fans to turn up on the day and get a result after what happened the last time we played there and I think the boys put in a really good performance and got the result we deserved.
“That’s going to give us a lot of confidence, beating Brighton on their own patch having lost there previously in the league, but this is a different game. We have to focus on that now and take that confidence and positivity into the Watford game and see where that takes us.”