Port Vale v Bradford: Ashley Vincent eyes Wembley date
ASHLEY Vincent will allow himself to start dreaming of Wembley if Port Vale can overcome another obstacle tonight.
The livewire winger admits his mind will start wandering towards the chance of a showcase final should the Valiants make further progress in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Victory in the northern area quarter-final at home to Bradford City (7.15pm) would put Vale just two ties away from an appearance at the home of English football.
Vincent concedes a Wembley final would be a fantastic bonus to the Valiants' League Two promotion push.
"To get there would be massive," he said, "especially for this club and the fans after what we've been through.
"We've had so much turmoil off the pitch, so if we could get to the final, it would be unreal.
"I'm guessing none of the boys have ever played there before, and you'll probably only ever play there once in your career.
"Wembley is the holy grail for every British footballer, even if it's in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, so it would be a huge day."
The 27-year-old, who had a taste of the big-match atmosphere when he played in Cheltenham's 1-0 win against Grimsby in the 2006 play-off final, knows there is a long way to go yet.
"You have to play a lot of games in this competition to reach Wembley and there are some good teams left in our section of the draw," he said.
"But if we can beat Bradford, then we might start to think it could be our year.
"We've beaten them once this season and we're full of confidence, so there's no reason why we can't beat them again.
"We ground out a 1-0 win at their place and perhaps we were fortunate on the day.
"They're a good team and what their strengths are, but they know we're a good team.
"If we win, then we can start to dream."
Vale will be without three of the team which went so close to an FA Cup upset at League One Sheffield United on Saturday.
Hot-shot striker Tom Pope, who scored his 21st goal of the season at Bramall Lane, midfielder Ryan Burge and defender Richard Duffy are all suspended, having picked up their fifth bookings of the season.
"Those three are going to be a massive miss," said Vincent.
"You don't lose players like that at this level without feeling it, but there are people in the squad who will have a chance to stake a claim.
"If they come in and do well, then they'll force their way into the gaffer's plans for our games over Christmas.
"Popey has obviously been getting a loads of goals for us and someone will have to come in and fill his boots.
"But I'm sure we'll have enough in the team, whoever plays, to come through it.
Vincent said the club would take plenty of positives out of their trip to Sheffield, which ended in agonising defeat only thanks to two goals from former Crewe striker Shaun Miller right at the end.
"We gave a great account of ourselves ," he said.
"They obviously had a lot of the ball, made a few chances and Chris Neal made some good saves, but I thought we were really unlucky.
"It showed there are players in our dressing room who can hold their own at that level, but we always knew that."