MILLWALL defender Shaun Cummings says he is “relishing” the opportunity of facing Oxford on Thursday night as the Lions attempt to make it back to Wembley for the first time since 2013.
Cummings will be part of a Millwall back four working to take a clean sheet to Kassam Stadium for the second leg on February 3.
The closest Cummings has come to playing at Wembley was in 2011 when after featuring on the right wing in Reading’s 3-0 second leg Championship play-off semi-final win over Cardiff he was an unused substitute as the Royals lost 4-2 to Swansea in the final.
Cummings is eager to make up for that double disappointment over the course of the two-legged area final against Michael Appleton’s side.
“I haven’t played in a big cup final so I’m relishing the chance to play in the area final with a chance of getting to Wembley,” Cummings said.
“The biggest game I played in was the Championship play-off to try to get to the final against Swansea. We managed that but I didn’t play in the final so hopefully I’ll get to play there if we get through this.
“I think any stage to go out in a cup competition is not good but obviously when you get so close you want to get over that last hurdle. It would probably be worse to go out now being so close to the big stage.”
Cummings has taken his chance in the first team in the absence of the injured Carlos Edwards and scored his first goal for Millwall at Southend in the last game of 2015.
He has some inside knowledge of how Appleton works, having played under the then West Brom first-team coach in 2009.
“He’s a really nice person and knows his football, you can see that from how well they are doing, they’re a decent side,” Cummings said.
“He gets on with everyone. He obviously has a lot of respect from his team. The players know what he wants and they’ve been producing it for him.”
With Oxford expected to bring up to 1,000 supporters to The Den, Cummings hopes that the backing of the home crowd will help to give his side the upper hand going into the second leg.
He said: “I’m sure there will be a very good turnout. With it being live on Sky as well we’ll hopefully get people behind us in the stadium and then take advantage in the first leg.”