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Derby drives Daws on

Michael Dawson is looking to banish the memory of his Wembley slip by beating Arsenal at the Lane tonight (Wednesday, April 14).

Michael Dawson is looking to banish the memory of his Wembley slip by beating Arsenal at the Lane tonight (Wednesday, April 14).

The defender believes the North London derby has arrived just in time after Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat against Portsmouth.

The most important derby since the Carling Cup semi-finals of 2008 and for many years in the Premier League, tonight's clash is a key match for both teams.

We need the points as we battle for fourth place - City are now four points clear, but we have a game in hand - while the Gunners are fighting for the title.

"The North London derby straight after the semi-final - it's massive for us," said Michael. "We're big rivals and we know what it means to the fans. It's a huge game for us in terms of fourth place and the games we've got coming up.

"We're looking to win to set us up for Chelsea on Saturday and then Manchester United. We're still in the mix for fourth and we'll give it everything until the end of the season."

Michael was happy to go back over Sunday's events when he slipped on the playing surface, allowing Frederic Piqiuonne to open the scoring for Pompey in the first half of extra time.

We'd had the chances to win before the game went into extra time and then hit the post and saw a goal disallowed after Pompey's goal, but Avram Grant's men eventually took it 2-0 with a penalty in the last minute.

"It's the biggest low of the season by a long, long way," reflected 'Daws'.

"Wembley - what a place to play football, but the way we's my slip that has cost us. It's hard to take, devastating and will be with me for many years.

"Everyone has said it wasn't really my fault, but it feels that way. It was the first time I slipped in the game and it was a costly one. I'm disappointed, devastated, but luckily we've got Arsenal now so we can all move on quickly.

"It was one of those days. Perhaps if I hadn't slipped they wouldn't have scored, perhaps we'd have scored, maybe it would have gone to penalties. It's gone now though, Wembley is at the back of our minds, Arsenal is a massive game and we need the fans to be right behind us. They will be up for it, the lads will be up for it and we're after three points. If we manage to do that, then Wembley will be a distant memory."