McHugh hoping his Wembley experience will help Argyle


McHugh hoping his Wembley experience will help Argyle

Leitirmacaward's Carl McHugh has admitted winning the League Two play-off final against AFC Wimbledon this Monday afternoon at Wembley would be the highlight of his career.

For the 23-year-old it will be his third trip to Wembley. The last two were with Bradford, the first a defeat in the Capital One Cup final to Swansea and then as an unused substitute when Bradford clinched promotion in the League Two play-off final.

McHugh feels that his Wembley experience will be vital to Plymouth Argyle today. He will back at Wembley in a new midfield role, which has seen him as one of the rocks on which the Plymouth success this year was built.

He feels he has developed as a player in the midfield holding role. Speaking to the Plymouth Herald in the lead up to the final he said: "I think I have improved as a player with the games and the training, and obviously this season I have played in a different position, which has added more to my game.

"I think I have developed as a player and as a person since I have been here."

McHugh has put his defensive know-how to good use in his new midfield role by breaking up opposition attacks, but has also shown good ability on the ball to get Argyle on the front foot.

"Since I have been a professional I have always played at the back, either at left-back or centre-half," he said.

"But when the opportunity came up and I played a few games there in pre-season I got a nice feel about the position. It has just developed from there.

"I have really enjoyed it. I definitely prefer playing there compared to centre-half now."

The play-off final will be a tremendous occasion, with the Green Army making up more than 33,000 of an expected 50,000-plus attendance at Wembley.

But McHugh insisted: "It's about winning a game of football. That is what has been drilled into us all week.

"You win the game and then you can enjoy it. You can wave to your family after that.

"But it's about winning a game of football and that's the most important thing.

"The whole season comes down to this and it will be a very empty feeling if you don't win the game."

McHugh thought the preparations to face Wimbledon could not have gone any better following the play-off semi-final success against Portsmouth.

He said: "It has been brilliant. We had a few days off after the Portsmouth game so we were able to go and see our families, which was good to recharge the batteries.

"But the training has been phenomenal over the last three days, with the tempo and the intensity, and we want to bring to that intensity which we have played with recently into the game on Monday."

McHugh believes the experience of being to Wembley twice with Bradford will stand in him good stead against Wimbledon.

He said: "The first game didn't go too well but it was a full house and it was something that will always stay with me.

"What we learned from that, we took into the play-off final.

"The players had the experience of playing at Wembley whereas Northampton on the day may have been a bit overawed by the occasion.

"We were ruthlessly efficient and were 3-0 up after 26 minutes."

As for today's game, McHugh says: "You know it's going to be a nip and tuck type game, as the Portsmouth ones were, but we are confident that if we bring our A game it will hopefully go well for us," said McHugh.