Warne is dreaming of a return to Wembley with Millers

Paul Warne is hoping to book a long-awaited return to Wembley as Rotherham United prepare for the second leg of their League Two play-off semi-final tonight.

Paul Warne is hoping to book a long-awaited return to Wembley as Rotherham United prepare for the second leg of their League Two play-off semi-final tonight.

The Norwich-born 37-year-old was a member of Diss Town's FA Vase winning team at the famous old stadium in 1994, but now has a chance to appear at its modern equivalent if the Millers cash in on their one-goal advantage from the first leg at Aldershot.

Warne, in his second spell with Rotherham, was on the bench on Saturday and is likely to be among the substitutes for the return leg at the Don Valley Stadium this evening.

And the veteran forward, back in first-team contention after a broken leg, is desperate for Ronnie Moore's team to realise their promotion dream - more so after getting a first-hand look at the new Wembley during his commentary stint for BBC Radio Norfolk when Wroxham played Whitley Bay in the FA Vase final 10 days ago.

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He said: "Until last Sunday, when I went to Wembley, the whole play-off dream didn't really feel real.

"But as I was walking up from the tube, with my earphones on, I thought 'Hell, we've got to get here!' I don't think I'll have any more chances.

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"When the team walked out and there was all the music, I hugged the bloke next to me I was working on the radio with and I was as goose-pimply as anything. I wouldn't have been anywhere else in the world.

"If I get on at Wembley and score, it will be like Escape to Victory. If I score the winner, I'll jump into the Rotherham end, put on someone's coat and just walk out of the back door. That would suit me down to the ground!"

The winners of tonight's tie will almost certainly face Dagenham & Redbridge in the final at Wembley on May 30. The Daggers have a 6-0 lead from the first leg of their semi-final against Morecambe.

Warne is hoping it's a case of third time lucky after play-off defeats in his first spell with Rotherham in 1997-98 and again with Oldham in 2006-07.

He said: "When I was in the play-offs with Rotherham the first time, and I was about 24 or 25, we lost on penalties to Leyton Orient and, to be fair, I was a young lad and you don't appreciate things as much.

"It sounds ridiculous now, but I thought 'Well, at least, I'll get another week's holiday - it's disappointing, but we'll have a good go next year'.

"I know what it feels like as a young lad and if it doesn't happen, it's 'C'est la vie'.

"But I didn't get another chance until I was 34 at Oldham when we lost in the play-offs to Blackpool.

"Me, Kevin Ellison and Andy Liddell were talking about it the other day, saying that as you get older you realise you don't get many opportunities. And I know loads of great players who go through their whole careers without getting anywhere near Wembley."

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