Barnsley: Ashley Fletcher looking for Wembley hat-trick joy!
In-form frontman Ashley Fletcher has been in dreamland since joining Barnsley at the start of the year.
The Manchester United loanee and his peers are preparing for Sunday’s huge League One play-off final against Millwall – their second trip to Wembley this season.
Fletcher knows exactly how it feels to score under the iconic arch at the national stadium, having netted in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory over Oxford in April.
And the 20-year-old has revealed that his time with the Reds has significantly exceeded his expectations.
“It’s something I would never have dreamed of coming to Barnsley and getting to Wembley twice,” Fletcher, who returned to Wembley to watch United win the FA Cup against Crystal Palace last weekend, admitted.
“Winning twice at Wembley would be massive.
“A lot of pros go through their careers without ever playing at Wembley, and for me to win in my first loan and hopefully win again on Sunday will be massive.
“I don’t think second time round we’ll have as many nerves as we did first time. It’s a huge platform for us and we’ll take a lot of confidence from the run we’re on and also winning the JPT at Wembley.
“I don’t think any team would relish playing us at the moment. We’re on fire in terms of goals and also defending as well - we’re a real strong unit.”
Fletcher made his professional debut at Oakwell in January and enjoyed a memorable afternoon, scoring in the first leg of the JPT northern area final against Fleetwood.
He has gone on to score eight times whilst making significant improvements to his own game in his first taste of competitive league football.
Earlier in the campaign Fletcher was turning out for Manchester United’s under-21 side, and Sunday’s end of season showdown could cap a remarkable few months for the powerful forward.
He added: “When you look back it’s unbelievable. Coming through the years since I’ve been playing football, from Sunday League to playing at Manchester United under-21s, and then coming on my first professional loan and playing at Wembley - to score was unbelievable and it’s a day I’ll never forget.
“It’s been a great experience. I came to play a lot of games and get a good taste of first team football, and winning the JPT and getting back to Wembley again is a huge bonus.
“I think I’ve developed well over the loan spell. I’ve scored quite a few goals as well and developed my game so it’s been a very successful loan for me.”