Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, believes his team’s big game experience can help them secure promotion to the Championship.
United enter Sunday’s final match of the League One season with Chesterfield assured of a play-off place following last weekend’s draw at Leyton Orient.
And Clough, who has led them into the semi-finals of both the FA and Capital One cups since taking charge 18 months ago, told The Star the knowledge acquired during games against Hull City, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Queens Park Rangers could prove crucial.
“We’re hoping that our cup experience will work to our advantage,” he said. “That, after gaining it, we can out it to good use.
“It’s always a little bit of a lottery in the play-offs but we’re hoping we’ve got enough to cope. We think that could be important, the experience we’ve got from the cups and we’ll be looking to use that.
“Yes, we’d have liked to have been in the top two or certainly closer to it and challenging. But now we are in the top six we have got as good a chance as anybody of going up.
“These lads have shown that they’ll fight for everything, themselves and the club.”
United will face either Swindon Town, Preston North End or MK Dons for the right to visit Wembley on May 24. Their last visit to the national stadium came in April last year when goals from Jose Baxter, Stefan Scougall and Jamie Murphy saw them give City a huge scare in front of a 71,820 strong crowd.
Chesterfield, one place and two points below United in sixth, are preparing for their own assault on the play-offs.
Clough said: “We’re both in it and all we can do is exchange places. But we want to finish fifth, we want to finish as high as we can.
“But, to be honest, I genuinely don’t mind who we get. That’s not a case of trying not to upset anybody, I genuinely don’t mind.
“That’s because we think we’ve got as good a chance as anybody else who might be in there.”