Wembley failure gives Adkins iron will to succeed

Nigel Adkins is confident that the pain of having lost at Wembley already this season will spur on his Scunthorpe side when they walk out on to the pitch today. The Iron take on Millwall in the League One play-off final only seven weeks after meeting Luton Town in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final. They lost 3-2 but have been galvanised sufficiently by Adkins to put themselves in with a chance of an instant return to the Championship.

"It is going to be very beneficial," he said. "It's not nice to lose at Wembley, believe me, but we tried to gather that feeling straight away. So when we go back again, we don't want to experience that feeling and hopefully it can just drive us on that little bit more, and when those legs are tired and weak, we can just hopefully dig deep into the memory bank and say, 'No, I'm not going to have failure.'

"We've sampled Wembley, it's a horrible place to lose, we're going there with the mindset to win the game. It's not about the occasion, it's about winning a game of football now."

Scunthorpe earned their place in the final with a penalty shoot-out win over the MK Dons last weekend and come up against a Millwall side who battled their way past Leeds over the course of two bruising encounters. And Adkins, who has seen his team beat Millwall twice in the League this season, knows how tough a prospect is in store.

"We're the underdogs, clearly," said the 44-year-old, who was the club's physio when they last went up through the play-offs, in 1999. "We've beaten Millwall twice this year and it shows how well this group of players have performed, consistently, over the year. There's an inner belief about the group but, believe me, we know we are in for one hard game of football."

Kenny Jackett, the manager of Millwall, has also experienced Wembley heartbreak, albeit a quarter of a century ago, having been on the losing side with Watford against Everton in the 1984 FA Cup final.

"Finals are horrible to lose in," he said. "It's terrific to be involved, it will be a great day but we want to cap it all by winning. Scunthorpe made a good fist of the Championship last year and have had a very successful season so far this year.

"They have some very good players, they've beaten us twice so we know what we are up against. It's a big challenge but there is no reason why we can't overcome it."

Scunthorpe have sold just short of 10,000 tickets for the final and their support will be dwarfed by Millwall, who are expected to take as many as 50,000 fans from south-east to north-west London. Millwall midfielder Adam Bolder feels that importing the Den atmosphere into the national stadium will give the players a huge boost.

"With us having the majority of the fans behind us it will be like a home game to us," Bolder said. "That's what we've got to try to turn it into – at home we are a very positive team.

"We showed in the semi-final against Leeds how positive we could be and over the two legs we fully deserved to go through. This club is going in the right direction; a Wembley final is the first step and let's get into the Championship – and that's where the club will move forward. You don't want to come to a place like Wembley and look back in five years and say 'if only'. It's about getting the win and making sure we are the ones playing in the Championship next year."

Jackett will have Zak Whitbread available, the defender having recovered from the head he injury suffered against Leeds. Neil Harris has overcome a dead leg and is also likely to start, while Lewis Grabban will come in for James Henry, whose loan period from Reading has finished. Gary Hooper, Scunthorpe's leading scorer, is fit again after a groin problem while Andrew Wright (facial wound) and Joseph Mills (ankle) could also feature. But Marcus Williams is definitely out with an achilles injury.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore