Alloa Athletic defender Andy Graham has his heart set on a fourth career promotion when his side take on Brechin City this week – and insists nothing beats the jubilant feeling of going up.
Jim Goodwin’s men trail Brechin 1-0 following the first leg of their Ladbrokes Championship Play-Off Final at Glebe Park, with a showdown second leg taking place at the Indodrill Stadium tomorrow evening.
Now 33, Graham has been around the block in Scottish football, but the veteran seems as keen as ever to make it to the Championship.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes News, he said: “I’ve been pretty lucky in this league. I’ve spent five seasons in it I think and managed to get promoted three times.
“To get another would be fantastic – it’s the best feeling in the world!
“You try telling people how these days don’t come about too often and you try and pass it onto the younger players who have their whole careers ahead of them and just think it’ll happen every year.
“Sadly, it doesn’t work like that in football, and it’s about enjoying it when you get the opportunity. We can finish the job this week and get another promotion.
“We’re delighted with how it’s gone so far, of course we are.
“The target at the start of the season was promotion and maybe to win the league, but obviously Livingston proved too strong and ran out deserved winners.
“We finished comfortable in second place and now we want to finish off the season on a high by getting promotion.
“At the end of the day, if we don’t get that then we’ll not look back on the season too fondly.
“I think it’s testament to the group we’ve got. Certainly, during the time I’ve been involved in football, it’s been one of the best groups in terms of attitude and how hard they work away from the ground.
“We only train two days a week so you need to look after yourself and every member of the squad does that. We’ve proved in the semi-final when it went to extra-time; I thought our boys looked really, really strong against a full-time side, and I think that shows a great attitude and great work ethic.
“Brechin are a strong side. I know a few of the boys and played with them earlier in my career. I know how good they are.
“We’re under no illusions about how hard a game it’ll be. They beat a full-time team in Raith Rovers to get to the final and you often find the team that makes it into fourth place has a bit of momentum and is always dangerous.
“We need to make sure we turn up, play to our potential, and that should be enough to get us promotion.
Graham was also keen to point out the part played by manager Goodwin throughout Alloa’s stellar campaign.
He added: “The gaffer’s done really well. Under Jack Ross we started really well with 10 wins out of 10 and looked really strong.
“Once he left, the gaffer went from being a player to a manager, which is never easy to do, but he’s managed it really well.
“After a bumpy spell, we’ve went from strength to strength and I suppose that speaks to his character. The boys all enjoy training, working with him and working for him.
“He’s got every chance of working at a higher level – just hopefully not too soon!”
Alloa go into tomorrow evening’s game as the 4/6 favourites to win the second leg in 90 minutes.
Click here for the latest Alloa v Brechin odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing