THE promised land of the Premier League is just a game away for a trio of born and bred Aylesbury footballers.
Blackpool’s Matty Phillips and West Ham’s Sam Baldock and Rob Hall are set to face off in the Championship Play-Off Final this Saturday with a £90 million jackpot awaiting the winning team.
While 19-year-old Hall is unlikely to make an appearance, Baldock’s chances have been bolstered after Jack Collison dislocated his shoulder in the semi-final win over Cardiff City.
Unlike his best friend Hall and Baldock, Phillips is guaranteed a starting role after a breakthrough season for the Tangerines.
“I’m really excited about going to Wembley Stadium.
“Obviously it’s a big stage. We’ve worked really hard to get there. It’s going to be a great day out.”
Despite his friendship with Hall, Phillips insists he will be going all out for the win come Saturday.
“Obviously I am very close to him and our families are very close. But I just want to win.”
After a successful loan spell at Sheffield United earlier in the season – where he scored six goals in six games – the 21-year-old winger has become an ever present for the Tangerines and even grabbed a goal in the second leg of their semi-final win over Birmingham City.
Asked if he had any crazy celebrations planned if he scored, Phillips claimed it would ‘depend on what stage the match is at.’
Despite there being plenty at stake and walking out at Wembley for the first time, Phillips is calm ahead of the game.
“I cannot wait. Having played at the likes of Man City and Anfield, I think I can cope with the atmosphere, you just sort of block it out really.”
While the cauldron of Wembley may not faze Phillips, the Tangerines do face an uphill task after losing to the Hammers 4-1 and 4-0 this season.
“We are the underdogs but we’ve got used to that tag this season.
People didn’t think we had a chance of coming straight back up.”
Phillips has long been touted for the top and should the Tangerines fail to come Saturday the former Bedgrove Dynamos wide man will not be short of suitors.
Everton are just the latest club to be linked with the winger, not that Phillips will allow the speculation to distract him.
“Of course the Premier League is where I want to be. But once the season is over we’ll see where we’re at.”