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Experience will be key for Mark Roberts

22 May 2014

By Tony Leighton

Fleetwood Town captain Mark Roberts will be using his experience of big Play-Off ties and Wembley finals to help inspire his team as they prepare to face Burton Albion in Monday's Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off Final at the national stadium.

As a Stevenage player in the club's non-league days Roberts twice appeared in FA Trophy finals at Wembley, winning the first one then losing the second.

And after helping Stevenage to automatic promotion to The Football League in 2009/10, he skippered the side that won the 2010/11 League 2 Play-Off Final at Old Trafford - but that 12 months later lost in the League 1 semi-final.

Roberts told football-league.co.uk: "I've had the best and the worst at Wembley and in the Play-Offs, and I'll draw on those experiences as will the other older lads in the team who have been in similar situations to the ones I've been in.

"To any of the players who haven't been in those situations, I'll tell them that this isn't going to be an occasion it's an opportunity - it's the chance to take Fleetwood Town into League 1 for the first time in the club's history."

Fleetwood are in only their second season as a Football League side after climbing out of the Conference two years after Roberts' previous club.

The 30-year-old defender joined the Cod Army at the start of the current campaign and has been a tower of strength as they performed consistently well to finish fourth in the table, two places and four points ahead of Burton.

Not that positions and points will mean anything, says Roberts, when the two sides step out at Wembley to face each other for the fifth time in nine months.

Burton won at Fleetwood in the league and also, after a replay, beat them in the FA Cup; but in the most recent league meeting Fleetwood won 4-2 at Burton.

The Cod Army will probably be expected in most quarters to come out on top, but Roberts insisted: "Neither side are the favourites in this Final.

"If you start thinking that you're the favourites then you're not concentrating, you're not focusing on the job in hand and we've got to be absolutely focused.

"Burton are a strong team, they've shown that all season and they proved it again in a very difficult second leg of their Play-Off semi-final at Southend.

"We know their qualities and we know it's going to be difficult. But we've got quality too, there's a lot of talent in our team and lots of determination as well.

"So we'll concentrate on ourselves and we'll approach the final with confidence after preparing in the best way we possibly can. The team that prepares the best for the game will win it - and we aim to make sure that team is us."

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