Crystal Palace must quickly forget their contentious defeat against Liverpool if they are to beat Reading in the FA Cup quarter-finals and book a trip to Wembley.
Palace are on a 12-match winless run in the Premier League following Sunday’s 2-1 reverse against the Reds.
However, the defeat was not without controversy as Damian Delaney was adjudged to have fouled Christian Benteke in the penalty area deep into injury time and the Belgium striker converted the spot-kick.
Manager Alan Pardew was left fuming by the decision and Palace midfielder Joe Ledley accused Benteke of taking a dive.
But Palace can ill afford to dwell on the setback as they prepare to travel to the Madejski Stadium on Friday seeking further solace in the FA Cup.
While they have struggled in the league, the world’s oldest cup competition has provided some respite for Palace, with Southampton, Stoke City and high-flying Tottenham all beaten en route to the last eight.
One dilemma for Pardew – a former Reading player and manager – could be his choice of goalkeeper if number one Wayne Hennessey fails to recover from a knock that kept him out against Liverpool.
Deputy Alex McCarthy made a costly error when Palace were leading 1-0 as he slipped and cleared the ball straight to Roberto Firmino, who levelled for the visitors.
Veteran Julian Speroni may be handed his first appearance of the season, but no matter who gets the nod, Ledley has defended McCarthy’s performance.
“He doesn’t go out there to make a mistake, no one does,” Ledley told the Croydon Advertiser.
“He slipped and I actually feel sorry for him because he was fantastic and made some good saves.”
In Reading, Palace face a side that reached the FA Cup semi-finals last season, where they were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal – a costly error from goalkeeper Adam Federici allowing Alexis Sanchez to score the winner at Wembley.
It is the sixth time the Berkshire club are appearing at this stage of the competition and Reading are also heading into the contest on the back of a poor result having gone down 3-1 at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.
However, manager Brian McDermott – whose side are 14th in the Championship – insists his side will quickly shake off the result in time for Friday.
“You don’t want to lose a game 3-1 away from home, but this result will have no bearing on Friday’s game whatsoever,” he told Reading’s official website.
“We’re looking forward to a great night on Friday, in front of a full house at the Madejski and there will be plenty of great nights to come.”
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