Matthew Lowton has revealed his determination to reach the Capital One Cup final with Villa to help him get over his own Wembley heartbreak.
The right-back is poised to start tonight’s quarter-final with Norwich in the knowledge that should Villa come through the tie they are only a two-legged semi-final away from a trip to the national stadium.
His last experience of Wembley was one to forget as part of the Sheffield United team which suffered the despair of a play-off final defeat to Huddersfield Town last season.
Lowton had the added angst of a miss in the penalty shootout and the defender would like nothing more than to put it right with Villa.
“Going to Wembley is a boyhood dream but losing at Wembley was the worst thing that has happened in my career up until now. I had a bad experience,” said Lowton.
“It was a massive disappointment. We worked hard all year to get there but fell at the last hurdle. The few days afterwards were very hard but it’s gone now.
“We were all on the floor afterwards. We worked so hard that season, we were second in the table for so long, but got overtaken by the other side of the city which made it even worse.
“The good thing at Sheffield United was that we had good people around us. I remember laying on the floor at Wembley and Chris Morgan, a seasoned pro who I had watched in the Premier League, came up and me and said ‘you’ve had a fantastic season, it’s one penalty, try not to let it affect you too much’.
“There’s nothing I can do about it and you’ve got to keep going and keep playing well. I loved the day but was disappointed in the end. It would be fantastic to go back down there for a cup final.”
Lowton was able to quickly move on from his Wembley disappointment when he made the £3m switch to Villa from Sheffield United during the summer.
And the 23-year-old defender admitted even if he would have won promotion to the Championship with Blades he would not have turned down a move to Villa.
“The next few days were bad after Wembley but I knew then I had the summer off and then it was back to hard work and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity here,” explained Lowton.
“That took the confidence to a whole new level. I definitely got stronger over the summer and when the phone call came from Villa, my confidence went through the roof.
“If the opportunity was still there to come to Villa, even if Sheffield United had gone up, I would still have come here. An opportunity like this, Premier League football, with a manager who wants to play football and is willing to give the young lads a chance, is a great one.”
The build-up to the game against Norwich has been focused on manager Paul Lambert’s return to Carrow Road following his acrimonious exit in the summer to take charge at Villa.
Lowton claimed that the players will not let the issue affect them.
“It is all about the game. When we played them here, the gaffer said it is nothing to do with him. He’s here now and he wants us to win every game that we can,” he added.
“He deserves a good reception. I think he will get the crowd against him but if they take a step back and look at what he did for them, two promotions from League One to the Premier League, he deserves credit.”