I know it sounds stupid, but after sleeping off Saturday’s defeat (and of course accepting there was nothing I could do to reverse Paul Tierney’s error) I couldn’t help but wake up Sunday morning feeling up for the cup.

As the cliché goes “take it one game at a time” and the next one is a humdinger.

It will come as no surprise to hear that I’m not Crystal Palace’s biggest fan.

Perhaps it has something to do with the girl that I liked back in school, who supported Palace and decided to date my friend rather than me.

Or possibly because I received a deserved clip-round-the-ear from a Palace fan, after celebrating Tommy Smith’s opener away at Palace on the opening day of the 08/09 season whilst watching from behind enemy lines at Selhurst Park, shortly before the goal was ruled out for offside.

Whether you like it or not, our games against Palace mean that little bit more. Two similar-sized clubs with similar recent histories who are both looking to win the FA Cup for the first time.

When we were initially drawn against Palace, I was at first relieved to have avoided both the Manchester clubs, however that relief quickly turned to dread. Visions of that shoddy performance against Palace at Wembley in the Semi-Final in 2016 quickly sprang to mind and the thought of it happening again, but on our own patch, made me want to avoid the whole thing.

Saturday’s defeat however has, bizarrely, made me look forward to the Eagles’ visit for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the seven changes made to Watford’s starting XI indicated what the team is going to be on Saturday. Whilst we have made changes for our previous games in the cup, it is very likely going to be our regular starting XI with the exception of Gomes in goal.

Javi has prioritised this fixture over Man City and having come through the game at the Etihad with no injury concerns, it should be the strongest squad possible with a place at Wembley at stake.

Secondly, Watford have strength-in-depth. I can’t have been the only Watford fan to have been expecting a thumping at the Etihad after the teams were announced. The recent result away at Liverpool was still a bit too fresh in my mind as I imagined Sterling running rings round Britos. However, on this occasion I was proved comprehensively wrong and I’m happy to admit it.

The Watford side that took to the field on Saturday looked organised and well-drilled. They knew theirs and their teammates’ roles to a tee. Our squad depth has been the topic of much conversation throughout the season, but Saturday was a clear indication of just how good it is.

Players such as Britos, Masina and Cleverley slotted in and did not look out of their depth against the league leaders. Femenia on his return from injury looked as if he’s been a regular all season and whilst chances were few and far between for Gray, his two winning goals in the last two games at home and his relentless work ethic on Saturday night, must surely put him in contention for a place in the starting XI against Palace.

Thirdly, VAR will be used for our Quarter-Final on Saturday. Whilst it’s not perfect and I personally would like the whole VAR process to be ironed out before it’s rolled out permanently across English football, we saw on Saturday how beneficial VAR could be. If VAR was used during the Man City game, there’s no way their first goal gets awarded and who knows what could have happened after that. That goal changed the game completely and it was frustrating that I was leaving the ground talking about a refereeing decision, rather than City opening the scoring with the breath-taking football they’re renowned for. Obviously, this could quite easily go against us, for example if there was VAR for Palace’s visit to Vicarage Road last season, they would have no doubt been awarded a penalty instead of a yellow card for fan favourite Zaha. However, I’ll be glad to be leaving the stadium talking about the football and not the man in the middle.

Fourthly and finally, Palace’s defeat to their rivals Brighton was the dent in confidence we needed. No one likes losing to their rivals, especially at home, and the Eagles’ defeat to the Seagulls has lumped a load of pressure onto Hodgson once again. With Palace unlikely to go down this season, the FA Cup is all that’s left to play for. There’s a lot of pressure on Palace and Hodgson on this game and even if we were to lose, we still have something left to play for in the league.

It’s a game that could go either way and feels incredibly difficult to call, but with a place at Wembley at stake and Watford having already angered the Eagles’ nest with restricting ticket sales, the atmosphere should be electric from the off.

The 1881 have lots planned to help create a spinetingling atmosphere ahead of Saturday’s game, but Roy and the team will need some assistance if it’s to all go to plan! So, if you’d like to play your part and wish to help set up Vicarage Road pre-match, you can get down to The 1881 Bunker (located down the stairs behind the south-west corner of the stadium) for 9am on Saturday morning.

Leave your inhibitions at home, bring your best singing voice, be prepared to give your all for the team and we could well be walking up Wembley Way in three weeks’ time.

In Javi we trust.

You ‘Orns!