LIVE: The Sky Bet Football League Play-Offs 2014
By Tony Leighton
Burton Albion midfielder Lee Bell will be aiming to make up for the devastatingly premature end to his 2012/13 season when he steps out at Wembley next Monday for the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off Final against Fleetwood Town.
Bell was sent off in the penultimate game of the regular season last term and was banned for four matches, ruling him out of the Play-Off semi-finals in which Burton faced Bradford City, and the Final if Burton had gone through.
The Brewers lost to the Bantams but Bell could only watch from the stands as his team-mates attempted to reach Wembley. Now he is set to step out at the national stadium and to do so as his team's captain.
He will wear the armband after regular skipper Ian Sharps was sent off in the first leg of the Play-Off Semi-Final against Southend United - Burton winning 1-0 at home and then drawing the second leg 2-2 to reach the Final.
"Last year was a massive disappointment," said Bell, "and I have to admit that I took the disappointment into this season. I didn't start well at all, but I've worked really hard over the last few months and now I'm going to Wembley.
"I'll be really proud to lead this set of lads out. It will be unbelievable - I never thought that captaining a team at Wembley would happen to me, but I'll make the most of the occasion and play as well as I possibly can."
Bell has made one previous Wembley appearance, as a late substitute for Crewe Alexandra when they beat Cheltenham Town 2-0 in the 2012 League 2 Play-Off
Final. But he said: "I didn't take a lot of it in on that occasion.
"I'll take a lot more in this time, and I'll tell the lads who'll be there for the first time to try and do the same. But there's a job to do, we've got to win a football match and although the lads are buzzing they know the job's only half done."
Burton came from behind to draw 2-2 at Southend on Saturday, goals by central defender Marcus Holness and striker Adam McGurk - who had hit the first leg's only goal - cancelling out strikes by Ryan Leonard and Anthony Straker.
Now the Brewers are to take on a Fleetwood team that finished the regular season two places and four points higher than themselves and who beat York City 1-0 on aggregate in their close-fought Semi-Final.
The two sides have met four times this season including twice in a second round FA Cup tie. Burton won the replay in that tie and also beat Fleetwood 3-2 away from home in the league, but the Cod Army then won the reverse fixture 4-2.
Bell said: "Fleetwood are a good side who move the ball around well and they've got some very good, experienced players. So it's going to be a tough game for us, that's for sure - but we're not going to Wembley to lose."
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