Ben Godfrey is no stranger to Wembley. He's been to watch England, he's seen his hometown club appear in two Play-Off Finals, but he's ready to be more than just a spectator. Running out on the hallowed turf as a professional footballer — that's the dream.
As it stands, the Shrewsbury Town man is just two games away from achieving that goal. The club are in the Checkatrade Trophy Quarter-Finals and welcome Oldham Athletic to the New Meadow on Tuesday night, where the winner will take their place in the last four.
Under the guidance of manager Paul Hurst, the Shrews' success in Sky Bet League One has been one of the stories of the season, but promotion is not the only aim — a trip to the national stadium and the chance to get their hands on silverware will be just as welcome.
“We'll do nothing but try and win the competition,” said Godfrey, when quizzed on the club's priorities this term. “Promotion is massive, but the Checkatrade Trophy is right up there. We're all winners here and it's a cup we want to win.
“I went to Wembley to watch England, watched my hometown club York City play in the Conference Play-Off Final – they lost against Oxford but beat Luton a couple of years later to get promoted back to the EFL. So I've had some good memories there, but I'm yet to play on the surface.
“This is a massive opportunity to play at Wembley and do something very special. But the main thing is to win the quarter-final.”
Appearing in this competition with York as a 17-year-old back in 2015, the midfielder knows just how valuable the experience of first-team football can be. Godfrey went on to win the League Two Apprentice of the Year honour at the EFL Awards later that season, soon earning a move to Norwich City.
The midfielder arrived in Shropshire at the beginning of the season, on loan from the Canaries until January, but the club have since extended that spell until the end of the campaign.
He's been a regular fixture in a side which has blended youth and EFL know-how to perfection, leaving the club second in the division and on the verge of a Wembley appearance. The club have lost twice at the new Wembley, in 2007 and 2009, and Godfrey is hoping it will be third time lucky for the Salop faithful.
Speaking during a visit to Severndale Specialist Academy on Monday, he continued: “The fans are the 12th man and they should be aware of that, they play a massive part in giving us that extra yard, that second wind. When they come in their numbers it does push us over the line, it's a massive help.
“It's a good opportunity for everyone and for the young lads involved, some big games for us to play, and that's what you want, that's why you play football.”
As with all four quarter-final ties, Shrewsbury Town versus Oldham Athletic can be viewed both domestically and overseas via iFollow. Click here to subscribe.