10:00 19th May 2017
Former Forest duo preparing themselves for one last push!
Good friends on and off the pitch, Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter had big beaming smiles on their faces after the win over Fulham on Tuesday night...but were already trying to process the reality of a trip to Wembley that awaits.
"It was a tough game, but it’s been tough all season," McCleary began. "Fulham were a really good team...but we’ve faced good teams on countless occasions throughout the campaign in this division. And thankfully, on the day against Fulham, we were superb…everyone."
"In the first half, we played really well. We had some good chances, and they had a couple," Gunter added. "Then scoring early in the second half, we played well for the next ten minutes. Grabbs had half a chance, Swifty too.
"But after that it was backs to the wall. And we’ve shown our character. There's been a lot said about us this season, a lot of it unfair I think. But now, we can look forward to Wembley."
Over the last 48 hours or so, though, it has also been about reflecting on Tuesday night's victory. Letting it sink in.
"A massive well done to everyone at the club and it's been our chance to enjoy it over the last few days," the skipper said. "I hope everyone has been enjoying it and has kept smiling.
"Now we can start an intense build up to the final. And it is an intense situation. Me and G have been involved in a couple of play-off games in our careers that haven’t gone our way - and it’s a horrible feeling. So we’ll try to use that.
"Of course you can feel it as players. And, while you don’t play games like this down, you also try to treat them as just another game.
"But we all know what’s at the end of it. These play-off games almost determine two years of your life - we’ve been working for this for the last 11 months and it can then determine what we do for the next year or so of our lives, which league we're playing our football in."
McCleary added, "The character is second to none. It’s been superb throughout. It’s a new style of play we’ve adapted to and...what can I say...the gfaffer has been superb, every player has been superb. Now we need to take it into one more game at Wembley!"