Lewis Grabban hoping for Wembley hat trick with Aston Villa
Villa striker Lewis Grabban claims an unwavering self-belief is the key to play-off success – as he targets Wembley glory for a third time.
The on-loan hitman, whose excellent form has today earned him a nomination for the Championship player of the month award for April, has twice won promotion through the play-offs with Millwall and Norwich.
But there are also two final defeats on his record – the most recent coming 12 months ago when he was part of the Reading team beaten on penalties by Huddersfield.
Erasing those painful memories now form part of the 30-year-old’s motivation as he looks to fire Villa back to the Premier League.
“If we get there, it would be a fifth play-off final for me at Wembley,” said Grabban. “I had two with Millwall, one with Norwich and one with Reading.
“My record is 50-50 at the moment.
“If you go up that way, it is one of the best days you will have in your career.
“When I think back to Norwich (in 2015), it is up there as a highlight. It is a great way to go up.
“When you lose it’s a ‘what if?’ feeling. It is something I don’t want to think about right now.
“Our experience should help. But when it comes to the crunch, it is all about who really believes they are going to win.
“The key is preparation, having a real belief you are going to win. You have to keep going and never give up.”
Villa round off their league campaign when they visit Millwall on Sunday, before a two-legged play-off semi-final against either Middlesbrough or Derby.
Grabban has proved a roaring success since joining from Bournemouth in January, netting eight goals in just 14 appearances.
Four of those have come in the last three games, earning him a well deserved nomination in the player of the month category.
Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala, Fulham striker Aleksander Mitrovic and Hull winger Harry Wilson are the other names on the four-man shortlist, with the winner due to be announced tomorrow.