Matty Dolan insists Newport County AFC deserve to be in a higher division as they prepare to contest the League Two play-off final against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday afternoon.
The Exiles have been in the promotion picture for most of the season and head into the showpiece at Wembley Stadium off the back of 12 games unbeaten, winning seven.
And they boast a favourable record from the meetings with their opponents this season, having won at Prenton Park back in September and drawn at Rodney Parade last month.
It’s been a fantastic achievement just getting this far but Dolan says the squad don’t want the journey to stop until they’re in the third tier.
On the play-off final against Tranmere Rovers…
"I can’t wait. It’s where you want to play your football at and as a kid you dream of playing there. We thoroughly deserve to be playing there but we’ve got to go out and do a job now.
"Playing against Tottenham Hotspur last season [at Wembley] was special as well. But that was one more where you just went out and enjoyed playing.
"This one we’ve got business to do so it will be a different game. We’ll go out there, prepare right all week, and leave nothing out there.
"As footballers, you always want to play at the highest level as you can. You want to play in the biggest games you can and there isn’t a bigger game this season than the play-off final.
"We’re always striving to do better, and at the end of the day, football is a game of opinions so it would be nice to go out there and prove a few people wrong on the odd occasion."
On ensuring this game is the start of something special…
"Firstly, we’ve got to see this as rounding off a good season. And then you look beyond that.
"The squad we’ve got deserves this, but we don’t just want to be reaching a play-off final and failing because that would mean we’re in League Two again next season.
"The quality we’ve got deserves to be playing higher. As a football club, you don’t want to get so far and fail. We’ve got to keep going for one more game.
"We’ll look to finish off the job because we want to be a League One football club next year."
On idolising Wembley Stadium as a youngster…
"My dad [Gary Dolan] always talks to me about it. We used to have a family barbecue on FA Cup final day, so I’ve always wanted to lift the trophy on the Wembley steps.
"Now I want to do that in the play-offs for Newport.
"It would be really special if we could do it because we’ve got a special bond, not just within the squad, but with the whole of Newport.
"We’ve brought everyone together and everyone is feeling good about it. We’re pretty chilled going into the game and we just want to go out, leave nothing on the pitch, and give everything."
On the management staff…
"The gaffer's enthusiasm and man management is brilliant. He understands what different players need and the rest takes care of itself – results and things like that.
"As footballers, we do appreciate the man management side of things.
"You can see from the set pieces that we’ve scored this season how good Wayne Hatswell is. Everyone deserves a lot of credit – Jim Hollman the goalkeeping coach has done a fantastic job with Joe Day.
"We’ve all bought into what the manager and everyone else wants us to do, we’ve had a really good momentum this season. That’s testament to what we’re building.
"Lennie Lawrence is fantastic. The gaffer is learning from him, Lennie obviously has his input and it’s another opinion.
"Lennie’s career speaks for itself. He’s achieved a lot and it says something when he gets a mention in Sir Alex Ferguson’s book, not many people get that.
"He’s got that experience and the gaffer has taken that and added his own very good traits as a manager."