Championship play-offs: Tomasz Kuszczak poised to save best for last as Brighton take on Crystal Palace
Sunday 12 May 2013
In nearly five years at Old Trafford, Tomasz Kuszczak never played in a Manchester derby. Yet, after his performance in the 0-0 play-off semi-final first leg ensured Brighton go into tonight’s second leg at home to Crystal Palace as slight favourites to book a match with Watford on 27 May, the keeper is relishing another of English football’s fierce rivalries.
Having experienced the passion of a Black Country derby as a West Bromwich Albion player, Kuszczak signed for Manchester United in 2007 after a successful loan spell, but made less than 50 appearances in total. He moved to the South Coast on a two-year deal last summer and now has the chance to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking – if Gus Poyet’s side can find a way past their bitter enemies this evening.
“I don’t know that much about the rivalry but we know it’s a big derby for the supporters,” Kuszczak said. “You can feel the tension but I’m a professional and I try to go into games like that with a cool head.
“When I walked on the pitch at the beginning of the first game I thought, ‘This is fantastic to be involved in a game like this.’ The manager has told us to enjoy the excitement that comes with these big matches because it’s beautiful – you always want to play in these kinds of atmospheres. Hopefully, we can take our chances and make it to the final.”
Palace’s leading scorer Glenn Murray will have a scan today to determine the extent of the knee injury he sustained in the first leg, with early reports suggesting he could be out for at least six months. But midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi still believes Ian Holloway’s side can achieve promotion without him.
“It’s a real shame for Glenn but it’s just one of those things,” he said. “I hope he can be back playing very soon but he will still have a good chance to make it to Wembley.”
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Latest in Sport
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world