Wright's warning to team-mates

JERMAINE Wright has warned his younger team-mates to concentrate on the job in hand and push all thoughts of the final out of their minds, writes Derek Davis.

JERMAINE Wright has warned his younger team-mates to concentrate on the job in hand and push all thoughts of the final out of their minds, writes Derek Davis.

The Players' Player of the Year is determined to hammer the message home to the likes of Ian Westlake, Darren Bent, Dean Bowditch ad Matt Richards, before today's tough first- leg clash with West Ham.

Wright is one of seven survivors from that memorable play-off final win over Barnsley in 2000 and wants the teenagers to experience the same elation.

John McGreal, Fabian Wilnis, Jim Magilton, Richard Naylor, Martijn Reuser and Tony Mowbray, who is now Town's first-team coach, all played a massive part in that promotion and Wright warns the hard work comes now.

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He said: "We have been there, we know and you try and tell the young lads but all they think about is the final.

"We are telling them – this is the game we need to win – no one remembers the teams that are knocked out in the semis, they only remember the finalists.

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"The lads need to make sure they don't miss the opportunity.

"If we get there then they will realise it and cherish it but before that you have to win this game.

"You don't want it to be like the semi when Jim got the hat-trick, it's exciting but you would rather have it won.

"We need to be positive, keep a clean sheet, score goals ourselves and then go to their place and beat them again."

To get their noses in front this afternoon Wright knows the team, and especially the midfield, will have to play a lot better than they did against Cardiff last Sunday.

He also feels that while there will be a lot of artistry on show, the artisans need to do their bit first.

Wright said: "It is two teams that have not been that great of late but do play attractive football. It will be two great teams to watch for the neutral.

"West Ham have a good all-round team but personally I feel the game will be won or lost in midfield.

"That is my department and we need to get our game going.

"They have Michael Carrick and Steve Lomas is coming into the reckoning and they have Marlon Harewood who bombs on from the right.

"What we need to do is get on the ball in midfield and create things for our forwards.

"We have a nice balance in midfield and if we all play to the best of our ability on our day there is no one who can touch us.

"Both teams have players who can score a lot goals and we now have a defence which has come good.

"It may be that it will be a tight one-nil and we have to be prepared to dig that out."

The former Millwall, Wolves and Crewe star has no illusions about what would happen to whoever finally makes it up from the play-offs and warns: "The three teams that go up will come straight back down. That said we still want to be there to be beat every week. The Premiership is the place to be. You want to play against the best players, the best teams."

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