NEWPORT County AFC captain Mark O’Brien admits that leading the team out at Wembley on Saturday will be a proud moment – but he knows the memory will always be soured if they don’t go on to secure promotion.

O’Brien is determined to help County beat Tranmere Rovers in the League Two play-off final, meaning he will be the man who lifts the trophy in the famous royal box after the game.

It’s a situation that he couldn’t have dreamed of back in August when he was sidelined by injury and had to watch new signing Fraser Franks take his place in the side.

“How the start of the season was going where I was in and out of the side through injury was tough,” recalled the Irish centre-back.

"So, to be where we are now and for me to captain the team from January onwards has been amazing.

“And for me and to get to walk the lads out at Wembley is going to be a moment I’ll never forget.

“It’s just another experience to add to the long list we’ve all got here because in the two and a half years I’ve been here, it’s been such an emotional rollercoaster that some people wouldn’t experience that in a whole career. And we’ve had it in just two and a half years.

“We just take it in our stride as a squad and it’s not over yet.”

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And O’Brien is convinced that the Exiles have the quality, the spirit and the momentum to beat Tranmere on the big stage.

“We all know what we’re capable of,” said the 26-year-old.

“We’ve got lads up-front who have scored more than 40 goals between them and, at the right time of the season, we’ve kept more clean sheets.

“We knew the run we had to go on to get into the play-offs and we went and did it.

“Now it’s a cup final and it’s a case of anybody can beat anybody.

“We know we have to be mentally switched on for us to put in a performance which we know we’re capable of.”

County won 1-0 at Tranmere in September and the sides drew 0-0 at Rodney Parade in April with Rovers hotshot James Norwood having few chances in either match.

“We have to go into the game with calm minds,” added O’Brien.

“At the end of the day, it’s a League Two fixture and that’s how we must approach it.

“We’ve played them twice this season and we know we’ve done really well and coped against them in both those games.

“As a defender, you do take confidence knowing you’ve kept the top scorer in the league out.

“It doesn’t mean we’ll go into this game overconfident because we’ll still have to be wary because he’s full of quality, just like the whole team are.

“The manager will be prepping us for everything they could throw at us and, on the day, it will be whoever wants it more that will win the game.”

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