IAN BENNETT put aside his personal disappointment at missing out on Wembley and enjoyed celebrating with a Huddersfield Town squad of “extreme potential.”
The 40-year-old let Alex Smithies know two days in advance of the League I play-off final that he wouldn’t recover from a hand injury.
That allowed Smithies to prepare fully and emerge the star of an incredible 8-7 penalty shoot-out win.
“The result makes it special,” said Bennett, a former Sheffield United player.
“We let Alex know I wasn’t going to be fit and he did superbly, fantastic really.
“It was an amazing turnaround in the shoot-out after we missed the first three, so I’m gutted for Sheffield United (his son is a big fan) and ecstatic for us.”
Bennett is out of contract this summer and asked whether he’ll be staying, he replied: “I don’t know, we’ll have to take it as it comes.
“I feel good in myself and, hopefully if the chairman gets a few champagnes in celebration I might get a nice little autograph on a contract.
“It’s been a great season and everything now is a bonus. It’s great to be still playing in League I and maybe be part of a team in the Championship, and I’m delighted for the chairman, manager and players really and, hopefully, we can do Huddersfield Town justice again next season.”
Bennett added: “We’ll have a great summer anyway because Wembley is a place for winners and, after being so disappointed a year ago, this time it’s us.
“We know the hard work will have to start soon, but the lads are delighted because this is the highlight of their careers for some of them – and it can be life changing and career changing.
“Some of our young players have got extreme potential and, hopefully, this will be a good stepping stone for them to bigger and better things.”