Carling Cup final will not cause Villa to lose focus

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill will not allow his team's weekend Wembley date to distract from the FA cup replay with Crystal Palace.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill will not allow his team's weekend Wembley date to distract from the FA cup replay with Crystal Palace.

Villa will take on Manchester United in the Carling Cup final on Sunday, but for now the attention is all on Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round replay.

He said: "I don't think the fact we are playing the Carling Cup final on Sunday will affect the players. They will be very much focused on the Palace replay.

"We treat every game on its merit and work accordingly. Obviously we want to be as fresh as possible for Sunday but we don't have a free week before the final.

"The most important issue at the present time is that we want to get through to be playing either West Bromwich Albion or Reading in the quarter-final. That is our aim.

"Crystal Palace will be licking their lips at the prospect of playing us again because they played exceptionally well in the first match and are capable of doing it again.

"For an FA Cup game you can disregard their form leading up to the tie.

"The game I saw them in was against Wolves in which they did exceptionally well and they deserved to win.

"They will be relishing the thought of playing at a Premiership ground simply because it is the FA Cup and they have nothing to lose.

"They will be very determined. It is a big opportunity for them and they will come to Villa without any real fear.

"They have a number of players capable of turning matches but I think it is their togetherness that has been the most important part of their team, certainly in recent weeks because of the administration problems."

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