SHEFFIELD-born Rory McArdle is overjoyed to have won his race against time to be fit for the Carling Cup final on Sunday.
The Bradford City central defender has played a big part in their remarkable cup run but an ankle injury picked up in their League Two game against Fleetwood at the start of the month threatened to dash his dreams.
For McArdle, a born and raised Owl from Tinsley, the cup will always evoke the spirit of John Sheridan’s 1991 heroics in his heart and he is desperate to play some part at Wembley against Premier League Swansea.
“It is your worst nightmare as a player and the injury blew up straight away after the game,” McArdle told The Star.
“The original diagnosis was that it was a ligament tear which would have been the worst case scenario but the physio didn’t seem to agree and we’ve taken it one day at a time and fingers crossed it’s going to be fine. I’ve trained the last two days and there has been no reaction so I’m fit and available for selection.
“The League Cup or Rumbelows Cup as it was then just makes me think of Sheridan’s goal against Manchester United. It’s a shame that it was such a long time ago but Sheridan was such a great player and hero of mine.”
A win for Phil Parkinson’s side would surpass their achievements of even getting to the final and McArdle’s after another Wembley goal.
“My goal for Rochdale at Wembley is an experience I’ve got that will help me on Sunday,” McArdle said.
“But it will be a sell-out this time and I don’t think the atmosphere back then will compare. We’re massive underdogs but you just never know in football.”