PALACE PREPARE TO GET TOUGH

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The Independent Online
The Crystal Palace manager, Alan Smith, is convinced his side can overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg of their Coca-Cola semi-final against Liverpool to qualify for an appearance at Wembley.

"We have a great chance of reaching the final," said Smith. "I have the feeling the players are in the right mood. Everything is in our own hands, but if we're going to do it we must be mentally tough."

Chris Armstrong, banned for the first leg, is back for Palace, and Ricky Newman could be fit to resume in midfield. Meanwhile, Liverpool's Ian Rush hunts the two goals he needs to equal Geoff Hurst's 49-goal competition record, while Phil Babb returns from suspension to replace Neil Ruddock, who is banned.

Stig Inge Bjrnebye may play through the pain of a broken nose, and Jan Molby could make an unexpected comeback for Liverpool. Although he has only played a handful of reserve games, he is included in the squad.

Bruce Rioch, the manager of Bolton, believes that the nastiness which marred the final minutes of his team's semi-final first leg at Swindon will not spill over into tonight's match.

The game erupted just before the end, when the Swindon defender, Mark Robinson, was dismissed for a retaliatory blow after a late tackle by the Bolton substitute, John McGinlay. The Swindon manager, Steve McMahon, pointed his finger at McGinlay at the final whistle, leading to fears that the heated tempers might be re-ignited as Bolton attempt to overturn Swindon's 2-1 advantage.

But Rioch sought to play down the question of a possible undercurrent of revenge at Burden Park tonight. "It was a small incident, not a major one, and I don't think that will be the issue. The issue is that one team has got to win."

McMahon, who cannot name himself in the squad as he has already played in the competition with Manchester City, has worsening injury problems, with his key defender, Shaun Taylor, joining Ian Culverhouse and Paul Bodin on the missing list.

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