Kilgallon hopes for play-off joy

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Football News

Sheffield United defender Matt Kilgallon is ready to set the record straight in Monday's Coca-Cola Championship play-off final against Burnley at Wembley.

Kilgallon was in Blades' manager Kevin Blackwell's Leeds side that surrendered meekly to Watford at the Millennium Stadium in the 2006 final and plans to use that "horrible feeling" afterwards to inspire success this time around.

The 25-year-old feels both he and Blackwell are now better equipped to reach the Barclays Premier League via the end-of-season play-offs at the second attempt.

Blackwell took his squad to a training camp at La Manga in Spain following their semi-final triumph over Preston and Kilgallon senses this time he has got the build-up just right.

He said: "It's been different. We didn't go away on a trip last time and the training's been different.

"I can't remember exactly how we did it at Leeds. It's all of a blur up to the game, but it was a horrible feeling to lose.

"But it feels better this time. We've got a lot of experience in the team and a lot who have been in these situations before, so it should help.

"There's going to be a big crowd and those who've been before will be used to that, but you can never read too much into these sorts of days."

Blackwell was coach under Neil Warnock when the Blades lost 3-0 to Wolves in the 2003 Championship play-off final.

United also lost out to Crystal Palace at the old Wembley in 1997, while Kilgallon's team-mate Darius Henderson, doubtful with hamstring and Achilles injuries, scored a late penalty for Watford in their triumph over Leeds.

Kilgallon said: "To be fair me and Darius have not spoken too much about it. It's in the past. There's been a bit of banter, but we're just hoping he can get fit."

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Darius Henderson
Premier League
Preston North End
Sheffield United
Crystal Palace
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Leeds United

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