Dunne senses first final appearance
At 30 years old, it has been a long time coming for inspirational Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne to be within 180 minutes of reaching his first-ever Cup final.
The former Everton and Manchester City defender has yet to sample the fervour of a showpiece but can change that when his Aston Villa side meet Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Tuesday night in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final.
In fact, Dunne had never advanced past the quarter-final stage of a major competition. His first season at Villa has already brought some notable highpoints and he's gunning for another leap with Wembley Stadium firmly in his sights.
He said: "I think this is the biggest club game of my career. We're getting close to having a chance of getting a trophy and it will be good to look back when I've retired and be able to say that I've won a medal and played at Wembley.
"But, because of my record, I don't even want to think about the possibility of a final. I know how difficult these two games are going to be.
"The opportunity is there but we have to make sure we're 100% right for the two games and that we are still in contention going into the second leg."
He recalled: 'I've been to a few quarter-finals but every time I thought we've got a chance of getting to Wembley, we have been knocked out.
"There were games where we were expected to win when we were drawn at home but it never happened for whatever reason. I was a YTS lad with Everton when they won the FA Cup in 1995. That was a good occasion at Wembley but it seems a million miles away now."