Aston Villa's Matthew Lowton will step out at Norwich City on Tuesday evening desperate for a Capital One Cup victory that can take the full-back to within touching distance of a return to Wembley and the chance to mend the heartache he suffered in last season's npower League 1 Play-Off Final with previous club Sheffield United.
As he looked ahead to the Capital One Cup quarter-final against the Canaries at Carrow
Road, the 23-year-old defender, who arrived at Villa Park in a £3million close season move from Bramall Lane, recalled being one of the Blades players who failed to hit the net in the Play-Off Final penalty shoot-out defeat by Huddersfield Town.
Losing the shoot-out was bad enough, but the defeat was even harder to bear for Blades fans as right at the end of the regular season local rivals Sheffield Wednesday had taken the second automatic promotion place away from a United team that had occupied that second spot since the middle of February.
Lowton said: "We worked hard all season to get promotion and so falling at the last hurdle was a massive disappointment. Going to Wembley is a boyhood dream, but losing there was the worst thing that has happened in my career. Getting overtaken by the other side of the city and missing a penalty in the shoot-out made it even worse.
"But the good thing at Sheffield United was that we had good people around us. I remember laying on the floor and [former Blades player] Chris Morgan, a seasoned pro who I'd watched in the Premier League, came up to me and said you've had a fantastic season, it's one penalty, try not to let it affect you too much.
"The few days afterwards were very hard, but I knew I had to let that go and move on. It was my first full season of playing first-team football week-in and week-out, and then I was lucky enough to get the opportunity here at Villa and signing for a Premier League team took my confidence to a whole new level.
Lowton's confidence has shown to the extent that he is the only ever-present player in Villa's line-up this season. The youngster is set to make his 20th appearance for the club at Carrow
Road, three of his previous 19 games having been in the Capital One Cup wins against Tranmere Rovers, Manchester City and Swindon Town.
Now they face a tough quarter-final against in-form Norwich, who are unbeaten in 10 league and cup games and will be favourites. But Lowton said: "We've got a great chance of getting to the last four and after my bad Wembley experience last season it would be fantastic to go back down there to play in the Capital One Cup final."