Crystal Palace have been given a major boost ahead of the FA Cup final against Manchester United after several injury concerns trained ahead of the Wembley showcase. Bakery Sako, Yohan Cabaye, Scott Dann, Connor Wickham and Wilfried Zaha all trained on the eve of the match, leaving midfielder Joe Ledley as the only confirmed absentee for the Eagles, with the Wales international recovering from a broken leg.
The quintet all missed the Premier League defeat to Southampton at St Mary's on the final day of the season and manager Alan Pardew was concerned those players would be a doubt for a tilt at the club's first ever major trophy. But the Palace boss was able to deliver a clean bill of heath 48 hours before the tie.
"Sako trained today [Thursday 19 May], which gives us a full roster, other than Joe Ledley," he told reporters ahead of the final against United, according to the club's Twitter page. "He would've been in the frame. Terrible shame to miss him. When the Welsh team meet up, our physio will go across with them and Joe. That should give him a fighting chance for the Euros."
Since overcoming Watford to reach the club's first FA Cup final for 26 years, which Pardew played in against a United side managed by Sir Alex Ferguson, Palace have won just one of their subsequent three games in the Premier League. The Selhurst Park club finished the season in 15th in the table but Pardew hopes his side can forget their recent form when faced with Louis van Gaal's side.
"I think the pressure's always on them because they're Manchester United," he added. "They've got that history. We've got the chance to land the first major trophy for Crystal Palace Football Club. All managers are under massive pressure, whatever football club you're at. Louis is a strong enough character to deal with it.
"We play street football. A certain brand of football. We're an exciting team on our day. We haven't reached those heights in the second half of the season, other than in this competition. I hope it's a great game. I really do. I think it's set up to be a good game. They'll dominate possession and we'll be very, very dangerous when they over commit."