Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson insists victory in Monday’s (February 17) Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area final (second leg) at Swindon would give the entire city a lift.
The League one play-off rivals are battling for a place in the competition final which will be staged at Wembley on Sunday, March 30.
The first leg at London Road earlier this month finished 2-2 so it’s a 90-minute shoot-out at the County Ground with the possibility of a penalty shoot-out to follow.
Ferguson, who won this competition as a player with Wrexham when the final was staged at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, is excited about leading a side out at Wembley as a manager for the first time.
“Getting to Wembley would capture the imagination of the whole city,” Ferguson claimed. “I’ve won the competition with Wrexham and I know what it can mean to a club and to a place.
“Winning tomorrow could also be a catalyst for a good run in the league. It would be a huge boost to know that we already have a final at Wembley to look forward to.
“We have a tough game at Swindon to negotiate first though. They are expecting a crowd of 10,000 so the atmosphere should be good, but the aim is to win the match in 90 minutes.
“All three matches we have had with Swindon this season have been really tight. Probably the most dominant we’ve been against them was in the league defeat at their place, but no two games are the same.”
Posh threw away a two-goal lead in the first leg. They were leading 2-1 when Swindon were reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of Jay McEveley.
Kyle Vassell scored his first Posh goal in that game and he’s expected to partner top scorer Britt Assombalonga up front again tomorrow. Strikers Nicky Ajose and Conor Washington are both cup-tied as are defenders Ben Nugent and Jack Baldwin.
New loan signing Josh McQuoid can play and is another attacking option for Ferguson.
“Kyle did very, very well in the first leg,” Ferguson added. “He was a handful all night as well as scoring his first goal for the club.
“It’s not ideal having so many players cup-tied, but the fact that Josh is available is a boost.”
Swindon will be without defenders McEveley and Nathan Thompson through suspension. Striker Nile Ranger, who has scored twice against Posh this season, faces a late injury test on a hamstring problem.
The match will be televised live on Sky Sports. Posh have sold less than 250 advance tickets.
The winners will meet either Chesterfield or Fleetwood in the Wembley Final. The League Two promotion contenders meet in their second-leg on Tuesday (February 18) with Chesterfield holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg at Fleetwood.
Update, 17 February: Swindon 1, Posh 1 (Posh win 4-3 on penalties) - We’re on our way to Wembley!
Friday’s report: Posh 0, Walsall 0 - The only winner was the weather