The opportunity to play at Wembley can help – rather than hinder – Preston North End’s promotion charge this season.
That is the view of flying winger Kyel Reid, who knows all about winning promotion as well as enjoying success in cup competitions at the same time.
The 27-year-old was a member of the Bradford City squad which remarkably reached the final of the Capital One Cup during the 2012/13 season.
The Bantams became the first side from the fourth tier of English football to win through to a major final at the home of football.
Although they ended up losing to Premier League Swansea in the showpiece match, Reid reckons the cup run had a galvanising effect on he and his team-mates for the rest of the season.
City event-ually went on to earn another appearance at Wembley that season in the play-off final.
And this time, the occasion was a much happier affair for them as they defeated Northampton Town 3-0 to win promotion to League One.
Reid was an unused substitute in the Capital One Cup final, but he played a starring role against the Cobblers.
He is hoping to play a significant role this evening as North End travel to Meadow Lane to face Notts County in the northern area semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
A victory tonight for Simon Grayson’s men will see them move through to a two-legged area final against Walsall – with the winners going through to the final at Wembley next year.
“It was a fairtytale when Bradford got through to the final of the Capital One Cup,” Reid said.
“I don’t think that will ever happen again.
“That was a great season to be fair.
“The cup run was good – we had some good wins over Premier League teams.
“Then we had the play-off final, which was obviously another great day out.
“Obviously here at Preston we don’t really want to be in the play-offs but when Bradford got to the play-off final, we managed to come out on top.
“I think the run we had in the cup helped us with all the experience of the big games that we played.
“And when it came back around to the play-off final and being at Wembley again, the occasion did not really get to us as much.
“It meant we could focus on the game and get the win, which is what we did.”
The JPT offered Reid his first slice of first-team action in a North End shirt.
Signed by Grayson during the summer after he became a free agent, Reid was forced to wait for his PNE bow as he recovered from a serious knee injury sustained in January.
However he came on as a 72nd minute substitute in the 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town in early September.
After a number of substitute appearances in the next few games, Reid was handed his full debut in the second round of the JPT.
His performance helped North End to a 3-2 victory over Port Vale at Deepdale.
He played the entire 90 minutes in last round – and scored a penalty – as PNE defeated Oldham via nail-biting shoot-out.
Reid admits the past year has been a frustrating time for him but he is ready to show the Preston fans exactly what he can do over the second half of the season.
“I have played in the last few rounds of the JPT and there’s a good chance I could be playing again tonight,” Reid said.
“I have not had any setbacks touch wood with my knee.
“There have been some days when it has felt a little bit niggly but there have been some days when it’s felt great.
“It’s all part and parcel of recovering from a serious injury. That’s how it’s going to be for the first few months.
“The manager has said that to me and he has said that I will play a big part in the second half of the season.
“He always said I would have a big role to play but the surgeon’s had a big role to play in terms of how much game time I should have. I think once we get Christmas out of the way, by the time we get to mid-January and early February, I will be back to my normal self and firing – like I was before the injury last season.
“I think by that time a lot of players with the amount of games they will have played will start to feel tired – that’s when I will be coming back and feeling fitter and stronger.
“It will be a good time for me to go out, really express myself and show people what I can do. I’m just going to take each game as it comes and I will be more than grateful to put the shirt on.”