MICKEY Demetriou is always welcome at Rodney Parade, but hopefully the Newport County AFC stalwart won’t return for a League Two reunion next season.

The 34-year-old will be a key figure when Crewe Alexandra take on Crawley in the play-off final on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).

Demetriou is a County legend who has promptly become an Alex favourite.

The central defender has made 54 appearances and hit double figures for goals when he headed the opener in the 2-0 semi-final turnaround in Doncaster.

Demetriou would go on to miss from the spot in a shootout, but all’s well that end well.

Crewe are heading for Wembley and their seasoned campaigner at the back is hoping for better luck than he enjoyed with the Exiles.

Demetriou, whose final County game was his 300th for the club, played in the controversial losses to Tranmere and Morecambe in 2019 and 2021.

He also suffered a defeat, albeit an expected one, when Michael Flynn’s side headed to Wembley for an FA Cup replay with Spurs while Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was being built.

The defender will lead Crewe out at Wembley against a Crawley side who surprisingly drubbed fourth-placed MK Dons 8-1 in the semi-finals.

Demetriou, always cheered on by his wife Aimee and boys Theo and Alfie, hopes won’t be picking up teammates again.

South Wales Argus: ANGUISH: County greats Padraig Amond and Mickey Demetriou after the late loss to Tranmere at WembleyANGUISH: County greats Padraig Amond and Mickey Demetriou after the late loss to Tranmere at Wembley (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

"Finals-wise, they've not been good [experiences]," he said to BBC Stoke. "I've told them 'I don't want you feeling like I have' so we just have to give everything we have to make sure that doesn't happen.

“If it does, we learn from it. That's what I've done and it's made me a better player.

“If it happens again it's only going to help them and make them hungry to succeed even more and think 'we don't need the play-offs next time' - use the negatives and turn them into positives.”

Demetriou is joined in the Crewe squad by striker Courtney Baker-Richardson, who formed a formidable partnership at Rodney Parade with Dom Telford in 2021/22, but the central defender could have been in the other changing room.

Demetriou held talks with Crawley boss Scott Lindsay last summer but opted to instead head to Gresty Road.

“When the Crewe gaffer rang me, it was a no brainer,” said the defender, who signed a fresh contract in February.

“It just felt more right for me, especially moving forward. I will always do what is right by my family and my football takes care of itself.”

South Wales Argus: SOLID: Mickey Demetriou has been a mainstay of the Crewe defence after signing from CountySOLID: Mickey Demetriou has been a mainstay of the Crewe defence after signing from County (Image: PA)

Few would have tipped Crewe to be in this position when Demetriou signed last summer after being given a low contract offer by County.

The Railwaymen made a superb start to the campaign and were automatic promotion contenders for much of it until a poor run-in that left them sweating on the top seven.

"The way the season's gone, we deserve to be here and that's the most important thing the lads need to remember,” said Demetriou. “Don't take it for granted and try to enjoy it."

"We've struggled with results in the last 10 league games and we need to remember how well we did in the first 36 games. We've worked too hard to let it slide away.”

After going up to League One with Shrewsbury nine years ago, Demetriou hopes for a change of Wembley luck.