Kevin Davies was devastated after Preston North End crashed out of the play-offs and ended a fine season on a horribly low note.
North End lost 3-1 to Rotherham in their second leg play-off clash at New York Stadium to lose 4-2 on aggregate.
And despite getting a rare 90 minutes under his belt, experienced striker Davies was gutted that the Lilywhites could not clinch a place in the Wembley final.
He said: “Obviously we are so disappointed. We’ve had a good season but it has ended in the worst possible way.
“Everyone is deflated in the dressing room and it isn’t going to be a good summer now for a lot of the lads.”
But Davies believes North End can use the defeat as motivation to bounce back next season and seal automatic promotion to the Championship.
PNE have now witnessed first hand a promotion pitch invasion at Brentford and another mass fan influx as they trudged off at Rotherham last night.
The 37-year-old said: “I think we will be stronger for it and we will try to use this feeling now to drive us forward.
“We have seen two pitch invasions now but we will set our standards high and go out there to win the league next season.”
North End only lost seven times this season but Davies believes that is immaterial.
However, he also feels the experience can make the team hungrier for success.
He said: “Of course we have had a good season but it counts for nothing right now as we aren’t through to the final.
“Rotherham are a good side and we wish them well but it just wasn’t our night.
“We have to try to reflect on what has been a good season in terms of the seasons before. I’m sure we will strengthen over the summer and come back stronger.
“We’ve got a lot of good players, a lot of young players and the club has got them under good contracts. We will get stronger and get better, it’s a horrible feeling right now.”
North End hit the post twice in the second half and Davies’ flying header in the dying stages flew inches wide, leaving the former Bolton hitman ruing the missed opportunities and North End’s bad luck.
He said: “We tried our hardest to get back in game but it is down to luck on the day and it just didn’t go in for us.
“I think if we could have got it back to 2-2 we might have gone on to win the game.
“But we just couldn’t convert our chances – we had enough chances really but we didn’t work the goalkeeper enough.
“It is fine margins in football and those things sometimes go for you.
“We had a few deflected shots that could have got us back in the game and we always felt that if we stayed in the game and the longer it went on that we’d have a chance of scoring but they got the goals at crucial times and we will have to dust ourselves down.”
Rotherham were ruthless and Lee Frecklington’s header three minutes after Wes Thomas’ equaliser kissed the inside post before crossing the line in the 34th minute to give the hosts a 2-1 half-time lead.
Davies said: “Goals change games and they got themselves in front.
“But in the second half we came out and the chances we had just didn’t seem to want to go in, they took their chances in the game.
“We kept them pretty quiet at the start of the game, we got the early goal and started thinking maybe we can go on and get a second.
“We were pretty comfortable and confident until they scored.
“It is a quick free-kick and the guy has got across me.
“I’m not to sure what happened as it happened so quickly but it has got them back into the game and got the crowd behind them.
“Declan Rudd hasn’t had much to do made a few good saves, but that is football and we will regroup and come back stronger next season.”