Spireites at Wembley: Ex-Owls boss Atkinson’s words to inspire victory, says Sheridan

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ENJOY, relax and win - Ron Atkinson’s advice will be passed on by Spireites boss John Sheridan in a bid to inspire his Chesterfield players to win at Wembley today, writes Graham Walker.

They take on Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final, kick off 2pm.

Sheridan, aged 47, has plenty of Wembley experience.

He netted the winning goal in the 1991 League Cup final for Sheffield Wednesday, and returned two years later for two more showpiece occasions with the Owls.

While conceding that his side go into the game as underdogs, Sheridan revealed he will try to revive the spirit of his past successes at the home of football in order to inspire his players with words of his former Sheffield Wednesday manager.

“All I will do is say to the players what Ron Atkinson said to me, and that is just go out and enjoy yourself, relax and help your team to win a trophy,” he said.

“I actually think people see Swindon as the favourites. They are top of their league, we are bottom of ours, they are winning football matches and we aren’t.

“But I do think we are playing well at the moment and we can beat anyone at our level on our day.”

The Spireites are currently struggling to avoid relegation from npower League One, but Sheridan is confident victory would inject the momentum they need to be successful in their survival bid.

“As regards giving us the impetus to get out of the bottom four, a win would be massive,” he said.

“First and foremost, though, there is a trophy to be won and that’s what we will be trying to do. If we do that then it should give us a boost in the league and help us build some momentum going into the final few matches, which is vital.

“There is a cup on offer, though, and if we could win that, for the fans it’d be great because they haven’t had much to cheer about this season.”

Di Canio has urged his Swindon players to seize the day at Wembley.

The flamboyant Roman has called on his troops to make the most of what might be their only opportunity to take to the turf at English football’s headquarters.

For all his talent and experience, Di Canio has never before been involved at Wembley in any capacity and today presents as special an occasion for him - a man of 450-plus games in the English and Italian top flights - as it does for the 20-somethings in his squad who are just starting off in the game.

“I have told the players to take a hold of their dream but try to play their football the same as always - no more or no less,” he said.

“It is a dream for millions of players in the past and millions of players in the future to play at Wembley.

“It is obvious that it is a special occasion, I don’t know how many more times it can happen again for a player. I hope they can many times, but it is not easy so I have to read exactly what is going on and try to work with them and help them as much as I can so they are full of energy.

“We have taken this tournament seriously from the very beginning. The fact that we have reached the final is an amazing moment for all of us.

“I am very happy for my players also because I know what it means to work under me, it is very hard, but also I am happy for the fans, the board and my technical staff.”