Nicky Adams on swapping it all for a win at WembleyMidfielder Nicky Adams has already scooped a number of personal accolades off the back of a successful season but he admitted on Sunday night that he would swap them all for a winner’s medal at Wembley at the end of this month.
Having added another five trophies to his tally at the annual awards dinner we caught up with him to get his thoughts on what has been a fantastic first season with the club.
“I’m feeling on top of the world right now,” he said. “The last few weeks have been unbelievable for me and it’s wonderful to get these personal accolades. It started with getting in the team of the year at the PFA awards because being recognised as one of the best players in the league is massive.
“It’s just as special when your team mates give you the Players’ Player award. You’re in with them every day and I know we’ve got a special bond together. I’ve said before that I drive them mad most of the time but they all know I love them and when I go out onto the pitch I give them everything.
“The fans as well – wow – I can’t thank them enough. They’ve got behind me from day one and they’ve been so positive about what I do. It really does leave you lost for words. I’ve had a great season but you can’t do it without your team mates.
“It’s the same with the gaffer. When someone believes in you it gives you a real boost. It means that when I’m out there on the pitch I believe I’m the best because he keeps telling me that. He wants me to go out and do what I do and, if I do it, I know I’ll be helping the team.”
Looking at why the club has made it into the play-offs, he said: “The way we’ve knitted together in that dressing is a lot of the reason why we’ve done so well this season. We just want to win every game and Exeter at the weekend was a prime example of that.
“When we were behind at half time I had people sending me texts saying we were dead and buried. All I ever say when I get texts like that is – we’ll see.
“The way we fought back in that game showed that we never know when we’re beaten. The one disappointing thing for us is that we’ve probably drawn too many games, but the table doesn’t lie and you have to congratulate the three teams who have already gone up.”
“We have a massive chance now and we know there are quite a few tickets which have gone out already,” he added. “It’ll be a big crowd and it’s a huge game for us now. There’ll be no feeling each other out or anything like that because it’ll be two good teams going at it. There are four good teams in the play-offs overall but it’s about us now.
“The good thing is that the belief is back and we’re hitting form at exactly the right time. If we look back at the poor run we had you have to say that things happen in a season sometimes and it has an impact. We lost some key players and an example of that is my pick for the Players’ Player was Mike Jones, because of how good he is – he’s one of the lads we lost. He’s a massive player for us and he got injured.
“Jason Kennedy is another, he adds so much to what we do. We also lost Charlie Wyke and even though we’ve got strikers who have been superb we had Charlie when he was in a real purple patch. The injuries maybe left everyone feeling deflated but I don’t think we were playing poorly.
“We were still looking for entertaining football and we hit that blip at exactly the wrong time. We’re not asking for any excuses because things even themselves out and we’re in the play-offs, and that’s something for us to be pleased about.”
The ultimate prize for one of the teams, of course, is a successful day at the most famous footballing venue in the world.
“We wanted automatic, it didn’t happen, but what a way to go up if we win at Wembley,” he said. “I know what’s in that dressing room and I would love nothing more than for us to do it.
“I wouldn’t even take any of the awards or accolades I’ve had this season if I could trade them all for a win at Wembley. There will be no better feeling than if we do that.”
On the victory at Exeter which secured United’s season extension, he said: “You saw how much it meant to everyone when Jamie Proctor put his goal away. I keep telling him that his best foot is his head and it was a brilliant moment.
“Fair play to Danny Grainger because he’s got some … guts. That is top bravery because to score two pressure penalties away from home isn’t easy at all. I think personally and as a team there’s a real desire to see this through now. I’m chasing it again because it’s four in four if I do it ... no that’s a joke, it’s not about me.
“The game on Sunday is huge now and then obviously we’ll see where we go from there. One thing’s for sure, the fans will be behind us and we’ll give them everything we’ve got. We’re here at home first and we know we’re going to have to stamp our authority.
“It won’t be easy going back down to their ground because we’ve had two very good games against them. You could argue that we have the edge psychologically because we’ve been behind twice and we’ve still won, and we’ve been the better side.
“We don’t take anyone for granted though and I think you’ll see an attacking game. It should be good to watch but we don’t mind what happens as long as we win. We’ll be ready for whatever is to come.”
Speaking about his past play-off experiences, he said: “I was at Rotherham when they went up via the play-offs after beating Leyton Orient, but I didn’t play because I’d had an argument with Steve Evans and he left me out.
“I was disappointed to not play but I was very happy for the lads because they deserved to go up, and it’s never easy to win at Wembley. I was only there for six months but there was a great set of lads there and I was buzzing for them.
“When I was at Leicester I was on the bench when we lost in the semi-finals of the play-offs against Cardiff and that would have been to go to the Premier League. The thing we know is that every team in there will believe they can win and we’re no different. There are four good teams involved but on our day we’re more than a match for anyone.”