Graham Alexander will not let his mind drift to thoughts of potentially visiting old club Preston in Sky Bet League One next season as he instead concentrates on repaying Fleetwood’s faith in him at Wembley.
The Cod Army would join the likes of North End, Sheffield United and Coventry in the third tier next season - and achieve an unprecedented sixth promotion in 10 seasons - should they defeat Burton in the League Two play-off final today.
Alexander, in particular, would no doubt relish the chance to visit the Lilywhites after making over 400 appearances for Preston as a player and also occupying the role of joint caretaker manager for a month during the 2011-12 season. The club’s fans recently voted Alexander their all-time favourite player in a Football League poll while the club requested the former Scotland international serve as a pallbearer at Sir Tom Finney’s funeral in February, such is his standing at Deepdale.
However, Alexander knows from previous experiences with North End that his focus must be solely trained on the task in front of him, rather than any potential reunions next term.
“I’m not thinking about it [playing Preston],” said Alexander, who twice missed out on promotion to the top flight with Preston in play-off final losses in the previous decade.
“I’ve done it before as a player in the Championship play-offs with Preston and I’m looking at Anfield next year, I’m looking at Old Trafford next year and then when it’s ripped away from you it’s devastating.
“I was thinking about those things instead of focusing on the things I had to do in the game. I’ve not thought about it and I can easily box things off in my mind.
“My full focus has been on this one game and this one game only. If we’re successful, which we all want to be, then we start thinking about what comes next year - and only then.”
Although Alexander achieved virtually everything in a playing career which spanned each of the Football League’s divisions, over 1,000 appearances and 40 Scotland caps, he is still a relative novice on the managerial circuit after Fleetwood handed him his first permanent post in December 2012.
The 42-year-old has been grateful for the chance to cut his teeth with a club that was playing North West Counties Division One football a decade ago and knows the ambitious club have aspirations to go even further.
“I think it’s been some story already, before my time here, to be where they were 10 years ago to where they are now,” he added.
“Getting in the (Football) League was a massive, massive step for the club.
“I think there’s been glass ceilings all the way through that they’ve broken through and we want to break through a few others.
“It’s been great to be given this opportunity to be a part of this story of Fleetwood.
“It’s something I take seriously and I want to repay the faith shown in me by other people.”