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Aussie Jedinak eyes Wembley final role

24 January 2012 03:30

Crystal Palace's Australia international Mile Jedinak is relishing the prospect of playing at Wembley Stadium in the Carling Cup final.

Midfielder Jedinak, 27, is looming as a key figure for Palace who go to Cardiff City on Tuesday in the CarlingCup semi-final second leg with the winner to face either Manchester City or Liverpool in at Wembley on February 26.

Jedinak, who provided the assist for Anthony Gardner's winner in the 1-0 first-leg win, told Goal.com that Palace want to win despite a draw being enough.

"From experience I think you should always go out to win," Jedinak said.

"Any football game you want to go out and win, we've got that slender lead, but you can't rest on that."

"Cardiff are a strong team and we know they've got a lot of attacking threats and we're going to have to be on our game to get over the line."

And Jedinak knows if they do get over the line, Wembley beckons for the Sydney-born man who has never played at the venue.

"I've never played there, I have actually been there but never played there," he said.

"All I can say is what a fantastic stadium. I didn't go there for a football game but I can only imagine what it'd be like in the atmosphere of a football game. It's something you have to see to believe."

Jedinak's telling contribution in the first leg came from a set piece, when he bolted into the box and beat Cardiff keeper Thomas Heaton to Darren Ambrose's cross, nodding on for Gardner to convert from close range.

The Australian said the goal was part of a new setplay introduced by manager Dougie Freedman just before the game, although bizarrely he revealed he hadn't practised the move after missing training with a virus.

"The coaches had it in mind but I wasn't at the training the day before because I was a little bit crook. I found out the plan just before the game but it worked to a tee," Jedinak said.

Despite his first-leg heroics, Jedinak is not known for his attacking side with Palace.

He joined the London club from Turkish outfit Genclerbirligi in the close season and has settled into a defensive midfield role.

"It's not always the prettiest job and the prettiest position to play in, but somebody has got to do it," he said.

"That's someone is me in our team, so whatever has to be done to get us over the line, protect our lead, start up our plays, I'll be doing that, I'll be fighting to make that happen."

The former Central Coast Mariners man has made 23 appearances for Palace and believes his transition into English football, after two-and-a-half years in Turkey, has been reasonably smooth.

As for international matters, Jedinak wants to be considered for next month's World Cup qualifier 'dead rubber' against Saudi Arabia in Melbourne.

And the 27-year-old, who has become a regular feature for Australia in the past 12 months, added he felt his midfield partnership alongside Carl Valeri was constantly improving despite some criticism.

"It's coming along good. We've played a number of games now together from the Asian Cup at the start of last year," he said.

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