Zola steeled for Sunday

Gianfranco Zola is relishing the prospect of the FA Cup meeting with Arsenal on Sunday.

The manager is likely to be without some experienced players because of injury and suspension such as Scott Parker and Guille Franco respectively, although both should be back to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday week.

It could mean opportunities for the recalled Freddie Sears and Frank Nouble, while the likes of Luis Jimenez and Alessandro Diamanti will hope to make their debuts in the competition. The match is the second meeting of the clubs at the Boleyn Ground this season after a 2-2 draw in the Barclays Premier League back on 25 October.

Zola said he would name the strongest squad possible. "The FA Cup needs to be honoured," he said. "We are going to play and try to win the game. We are at home against Arsenal and we will have a go. I know it is maybe not the priority but we will be there and up for it.

"We will see what we will do [with regard to young players]. I don't think we have much choice. But we will put out a good team.

"I have told the players to continue what they are doing. We are getting to a point where all of the hard work and commitment will come back to us. It is a matter of being strong mentally and I have no doubt we are destined for many good things."

The manager is mindful that Arsenal are in flying form at the moment, although they too are without at least eight first-team players for this weekend. "They are going for the title and they have also a game in hand. I like the way they play, the spirit they have, the kind of management they have and I am not saying that now. I have always said that."

With James Tomkins, Jack Collison and Junior Stanislas all likely to be integral on Sunday afternoon, the manager said he would have no hesitation giving more of the club's youngsters a chance. "In difficult circumstances, the kids are doing well. The players are coping and the project is going forward very much.

"It is a good opportunity I will have the chance to play some players and make some changes. It is an opportunity and will I use it well. We will take it seriously. We are at home and we will try and win.

"We will have the best go we can give. We got a draw against them before. It is maybe a good moment to play them but they still have big players to replace them. We will see. We will have a go 100 per cent.

"It would be great to get past Arsenal and into the fourth round. The FA Cup is still an amazing competition. It is the tradition and history that makes it so special, as well as the passion it brings out in people. I was blessed to win it twice as a player and it is one of the best achievements of my career in football."