Why Villa's cup hopes are in the balance
By Villa reporter
Saturday 13 Feb 2010 21:19:00
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Martin O’Neill has warned his Villa players their FA Cup hopes are at risk from a team whose spirits have been raised by a financial crisis.

The Villa boss has praised Palace and their manager Neil Warnock for the way they have triumphed in the adversity of going into administration, and he is certain they will be out to write another chapter in their fightback story in Sunday’s afternoon’s fifth round tie at Selhurst Park. MON believes the outcome of the game is ‘in the balance’.

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O’Neill said: ‘I saw Palace play Wolves and they deserved to win the game and played very strongly that night - and it helps when you get a six minute hat-trick! There is a good spirit amongst them and that would come from the manager. I can't say we know each other really well but I have a great appreciation of him.

‘He has done very well in his career, is a terrific motivator and, every club he has been at, the players want to play for him. He engenders a great spirit wherever he goes and that is a hallmark of someone who knows what the managerial game is all about.

‘People say he has a habit of getting under people's skin. That is true, that is also part of his make-up. Like a lot of us, he doesn't adhere himself to everyone and that is the nature of this business. It probably doesn't matter a jot to him - and quite rightly so.

‘I think there has been a galvanising effect at Palace from players and supporters (since going into administration) and the game will be very tough in front of close to a full house.

‘They were right in the promotion race and that deduction of points can be debilitating and knock your whole season. As it turns out, they've got plenty to play for again.

‘Palace are fighting for their lives. It's a great opportunity for them, a great opportunity to keep the club going and they'll be looking forward to it. It's a game that's very much in balance.’

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