Dion’s dreaming of another Wembley moment at Bolton Wanderers

As the days tick down to the League One play-off final against Oxford United, Bolton’s top scorer is dreaming of another goal under the arch to help Ian Evatt’s side gain promotion to the Championship.

Charles netted in the 4-0 win against Plymouth Argyle in last season’s Papa Johns Trophy and believes the experience puts him and others who lifted silverware that day in a position of strength.

“For me it’s probably the biggest game of my life,” he said of Saturday’s showpiece. “We have worked tirelessly to put ourselves in this position and it’s every kid’s dream to go and play at Wembley.

“Luckily, we got that chance last year and it’ll stand us in good stead. I am really looking forward to it.

“We have had a long season, we didn’t quite do it automatically, but to do it on the big stage will top going up automatically, I think.

“Scoring at Wembley is the best feeling I have had in my career to date. There are quite a lot of us from that squad, we have played there before, we know the occasion, albeit this is a bigger one. But playing in front of the sort of crowd we did before, it can only help us.

“To score again, who knows? I’ll be trying my best.”

Wanderers finished 10 points and two higher than Oxford United in the regular season and beat them convincingly in a televised game at the Toughsheet just a couple of months ago.

Charles insists, however, that the jeopardy involved in a final means that past form counts for nothing.

“It’s one game and winner-takes-all,” he said. “We can’t get too ahead of ourselves. We know it is going to be a tough game. They pose threats but likewise, so do we.

“It’s nice to know we are favourites but we won’t take anything for granted, we know they are a good team. On our day, we know we are very good as well.”

Charles missed nine games in the closing months of the season and an opportunity to extend the 20 goals has already has for Wanderers this term.

He feels the timing of his comeback, managed carefully in the closing games, means he will be ready to go to Wembley at close to 100 per cent.

“It was a long time out having to watch the lads and I was disappointed I couldn’t help them but I knew when I got back it was time to show what I can do again,” he added. “I feel I have got to the point now where I have a few games under my belt, brushed off the cobwebs, I am ready to go for the big occasion.”

Meanwhile, Sam Barrott has been appointed as the referee for Saturday’s game.

The West Yorkshire official has taken charge of eight previous Bolton games, the last being last season’s Papa Johns Trophy semi-final victory against Accrington Stanley. His assistants will be Paul Hodskinson and Nigel Lugg and fourth official will be Andrew Kitchen.

Peter Bankes will be the VAR referee on the day, with Sian Massey-Ellis the VAR assistant.

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