Talented midfielder Jacob Mellis is hoping to end his career-long wait for a promotion when Mansfield Town travel to MK Dons for Saturday’s last game showdown.
Stags need just a point and Mellis, who has played at all four levels, is desperate to achieve.
“I have been relegated from the Championship a couple of times and that’s not nice. So to get promoted would be a dream,” he said.
“It will definitely be the biggest game of my career. You think you might get promoted all the time or be in and around it. But I have never come anywhere near one.
“We have a good squad of players here now and this has to be the season.
“With the gaffer in the past we stayed up on the last day of the season and that was a celebration. It was like we’d won the league. So I can only imagine what getting promoted is like. I want to taste it.
“Promotion would mean everything. We have been striving since the first day of pre-season in Portugal. We have been driving it and now it’s come down to the last game. It’s exciting.”
Mellis and the squad have been training on the huge pitches at England’s St George’s park HQ this week to get used to the Stadium MK surface.
“They have a big pitch here too so we are training on that to get used to the size. It’s a good surface and we are preparing well,” said Mellis.
“It’s a great stadium at MK. I think I have played there twice and won twice so I have good memories from there.
“They are one of the best teams we’ve played. We’ve both got great squads so may the best team win.”
Mellis said the players were less nervous than most as they were the ones that could actually go out there and do what is needed.
He smiled: “Everyone is excited. My missus is more nervous than me as she can’t do anything about it. That’s the good thing – we can affect it as we are the people on the pitch.
“The fans and everyone else will be more nervous than us as we can do something about it out there.”
Stags will take an army of 5,300 fans down there including many from Mellis’ family.
“My brother, sister, dad and my wife’s family will all be there so we have been sorting quite a lot of tickets,” he said.
“We’ll have over 5,000 there and it’s fantastic support and we just want to do well for them. We want repay them and be celebrating in front of them.
“It will be down to whoever holds their nerve the best. But we have played 45 games now and we just want to continue what we’ve doing for pretty much all of those games.
“It’s a one-off game and it feels like a cup final.
“We can’t hide away from the fact it’s a massive game so we are embracing it and taking it in our stride.”
Mellis said the players wanted to repay the club for the faith placed in them to achieve promotion.
“You can see what this club is doing on and off the pitch. It’s so professional,” he said.
“I have been at other clubs in higher leagues and they have not been as professional as this club. It’s all set up and going in the right direction.
“We’ve just got to do our job on Saturday now and we’ll be happy.
“We all got recruited to get promoted. It didn’t happen last year for some of us.
“But the manager has worked with the squad again, made some great signings, we’ve gone again and now it all comes down to this.”