It's fair to say Carl McHugh has become well accustomed to the Play-Offs and the emotions that come with them, despite only being in his fourth year as a professional.His first involvement came with Bradford City three seasons ago when the Bantams were successfully promoted from Sky Bet League 2, beating Burton Albion over a two-legged semi-final before seeing off Northampton Town 3-0 under the arch in the final.
During the same campaign, McHugh was also at Wembley with the Bantams for their Capital One Cup Final encounter with Swansea City, after an astonishing run to the showpiece.
“The Play-Off Final; we won that game. I didn’t play but it was an unbelievable experience," he told pafc.co.uk.
"Both games [the two finals] were unbelievable. It’s what you want to do as a player, playing in the big stadiums on the big days.
"That was a really positive experience. When you’re growing up you want to play full houses, big clubs and at big grounds with a lot at stake.”
Last term the utility man was in the green of Plymouth Argyle as they lost over two legs to Wycombe Wanderers in the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off semi-finals. Now the Pilgrims are back for more this time around – they are the only team involved in this season's Play-Offs who were also in the mix last year.
Portsmouth v Plymouth: Dockyard Derby to kick-off Sky Bet Play-Offs
And they kick-off the end-of-season drama on Thursday against Portsmouth at Fratton Park, before the return leg on Sunday. McHugh says he and his team-mates are relishing the occasion and the unique matches that the Play-Offs bring.
“This is what you run around a track for in pre-season, for these games, so we’re really looking forward to it,” he added. “We want to make the most of it.
“In the Play-Offs it’s all on the day; they’re not like normal games. Form and everything goes out the window.
"They’re different kind of games but we’re really looking forward to it, it’s going to be two great occasions.”
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