Morecambe midfielder's warning ahead of Monday's play-off final
Aaron Wildig has warned his Morecambe team-mates that they haven’t done anything yet ahead of Monday’s play-off final.
The Shrimps can secure a first promotion into League One if they get the better of Newport County AFC.
They had come within a point of automatic promotion, only to miss out on the final day as their win against Bradford City was matched by Cambridge United and Bolton Wanderers, both of whom grabbed the final places.
After Morecambe saw off Tranmere Rovers in their two-legged semi-final, and with the return of supporters, there was a feelgood factor around the Mazuma Stadium last Sunday.
However, without wanting to pour cold water on those celebrations, Wildig reminded everyone that the job is only half-done.
“It’s a great achievement for the club,” he said.
“I was just speaking to someone there and I’ve got to be honest, it was a bit flat for a couple of days after that final day of the season.
“We did go into that final day with a bit of hope but a couple of days off recharged the batteries and we went again.
“It’s a big achievement but it’s only a big achievement if we go there now and get promoted.”
Wildig’s 10th goal of the season settled the semi-final in Morecambe’s favour after they had won 2-1 in the first leg.
The 29-year-old scored inside the first 10 minutes of the second leg, giving them a two-goal cushion.
Although Tranmere pulled one back, they couldn’t get a second as the Shrimps took their place in the final.
Wildig’s strike continued his increased productivity in front of goal since Derek Adams took over as manager in November 2019.
In that time, he has played 61 matches for the Shrimps and scored 14 goals from the centre of midfield.
He said: “I’ve been here six years and I’ve missed a fair few chances over the years.
“Since the gaffer’s come in, he’s given me that licence to go and run beyond and get in the box – and I think that’s 10 for the season now.
“I probably could have had a couple more here and there if I’m being harsh with myself but that’s my role in the team – my role is to break from midfield, run from beyond, and thankfully it’s paid off this season.
“We’ve got a lot of good characters in that group, we’re a strong group. Mentally, we’re really strong, we’ve got a bit of everything.
“Obviously we’ve changed our tactics the other night. We went there, sat in a bit, looked to counter-attack – a bit different at times today but, at the same time, we were disciplined.
“They chucked everything at us in the end, I think there were seven or eight up front, but we dealt with it well.
“We could have broken away and put the game to bed but it’s a great win and let’s just go and attack next week.”
Newport’s victory against Forest Green means fourth will play fifth at Wembley.
However, as has been illustrated on a number of occasions this season, league positions and form have gone out of the window with surprise results on a weekly basis.
Wildig said: “It’s League Two. It sounds mad, you could play a Grimsby or something next week in a final and it would be just as difficult a game.
“League Two clubs, everyone can beat everyone and we’ve found that out this season, so it doesn’t really matter who you play.
“It’s more on the day, doing your job, taking those key moments in games and making them count.”
Just in case promotion wasn’t a big enough incentive, Wildig also has a difficult Wembley memory of his own to spur him on.
In his case, he has gone back 11 years to the Championship play-off final when he was a teenager at Cardiff City.
He explained: “It will be a great occasion if we go there and win.
“I went there as a 17-year-old lad for Cardiff on the bench against Blackpool and we didn’t win on the day – and I don’t look back on it with fond memories.
“Let’s go there and win and go up – and that’s what will make it a great day.”
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