Grimsby Town's James McKeown only wants one visit to Wembley this year
JAMES McKeown wants next weekend's visit to Wembley to be his last this season.
The Grimsby Town keeper has enjoyed a stellar campaign in which he has not only helped the Mariners to the FA Trophy final, but also ensured that they still remain in contention for promotion back into the Football League.
Like all in black and white, the former Walsall scholar is targeting a famous win over Wrexham at the weekend.
But ideally, after the final, he wants to wave goodbye to the home of football – for another season at least.
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That's because, with Town still in with an outside chance of the Blue Square Bet Premier title, McKeown has his sights set on that automatic promotion place rather than a return trip to the capital for what he calls "the lottery" of the play-off final in May.
"Wembley is fantastic and it's going to be an amazing experience to play there, but, if we're all honest, ideally, we only want to be coming here once," he told the Telegraph.
"The play-offs are a lottery and they can go either way. You look at it now and you'd have to think that it would be four out of the five that are up there at the minute.
"Any one of us could still win it, but we are all so easily matched. The league would suggest that because no team has run away with it.
"Yes it would be great to experience winning a play-off final, but I would much, much rather win the league because then the pressure is off.
"Otherwise in the play-offs it's 180 minutes then if you win that, it's another 90 minutes and you don't want to put yourself though that and then not get there.
"Personally, I think it could come down to the last game of the season to decide how it all finishes. We'll have Newport and Wrexham will have Mansfield. It could go down that far and I think it will."
Reaching a Wembley final at the relatively young age of 23 is no mean feat, and the keeper has been quick to praise Town's managers and coaching staff for showing faith in him this season.
That confidence would appear to have been well-placed, with the former Irish youth international having already kept 21 clean sheets this season – helping the Mariners' develop the best defensive record in the league.
And after such an impressive campaign, McKeown wants to make even more special memories by getting his hands on the FA Trophy – after all, he insists that's the only way he'll be able to fully enjoy his big day out at Wembley.
He said: "I've been really lucky this season because the gaffers have played me nearly every game and have shown faith in me and it has made a massive difference for me.
"I've worked a lot with Steve (Croudson, goalkeeping coach) and he's helped me to mature a lot as a goalkeeper and I feel like I'm getting to where I want to be in terms of consistency.
"I've obviously been quite lucky this season because we've been so good defensively and I've kept a few clean sheets when I've had absolutely nothing to do."
He continued: "It's been a good season so far and walking out at Wembley will be a proud moment for me and my family, as it will for all the lads.
"It will be a day that will live forever with all of us, but only if we win.
"You look at Bradford, who did amazingly well to get to the FA Cup final. But they went lost 5-0 and they will have been devastated, regardless of the fact that they lost to a Premier League side.
"There's no doubt Sunday will be a great day out for everybody, but only if we win. I will go home, even if we've lost and my missus will say 'well it was a good day out', but it won't be.
"We've got to win it if we want to really enjoy it."