Jonathan Hogg knows the agony of losing a Championship play-off final – so he’s doubly determined not to go through it again with Huddersfield Town.
The 28-year-old midfield player – a key man in David Wagner’s side – was a Wembley loser with Watford against Crystal Palace four years ago, when a Kevin Phillips penalty sent the Eagles soaring to promotion.
Two months after that showpiece, which Watford lost after knocking out Leicester City in the semi-finals, Hogg moved to Town on a three-year contract.
And now he’s marching down Wembley Way again hoping for a different outcome.
“I know what to expect from the atmosphere and the temperature on the field will be ridiculous,” said the man who started out at Aston Villa before having loan spells at Darlington and Portsmouth.
“That heat can put players off, so because I’ve been there before I’m hoping it will be easier second time around.
“This is a huge final for this club because no-one expected us to be there.
“I don’t know whether we are underdogs or not, but I don’t think we should worry about that – we just need to look at ourselves and our own performance.”
Hogg says the squad getting away to Portugal with their families after the play-off semi-final second leg at Hillsborough has been a massive bonus.
“We are in good shape,” he reported.
“We went to Portugal for five days and it was good to relax, do a bit of sun bathing and simply recover, because the semi-final matches against Sheffield Wednesday were definitely hard work.
“We had 90 minutes at our place then 120 minutes on the Wednesday, and there were a lot of tired legs after that.
“All the lads still did a bit of training out there to keep ticking over, but it was certainly a nice touch from the chairman and the boss to get us out there.
“Now, we can focus on the match – and we have worked all season to make sure we win.
“That’s what everyone wants, not just the players and the Town fans, but the whole community.
“Everyone wants us to do well, and you can feel what a massive thing it is for everyone involved.”
Hogg hopes all the hard work which has gone in at PPG Canalside since last summer will pay off on Monday.
“We have performed really well this season – everything the boss has asked, we have done,” he explained.
“The players deserve massive credit because they have kept going through a long season and our squad is not the biggest in the Championship – so the boss and the staff deserve great credit for keeping us going.”
Hogg, of course, thought he was out for the season when he went off with a suspected broken neck against Bristol City.
But he was back quickly, and now he’s delighted to see Kasey Palmer making a similar miraculous recovery.
He said of the Chelsea loanee: “It’s a big boost to all the lads to have Kasey back and if he can get through training, then I think he should be involved or there and thereabouts.
“He gives us that bit of threat going forward and we need that – it’s definitely a positive.
“It’s just a matter of making sure all the lads are fresh and ready to go on Monday.”