Dion Charles is going to Wembley on a high as he aims to put another big entry on his career CV.
Charles netted his first international goals a week ago when his double against San Marino gave Northern Ireland a flying start to their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
That took the striker’s tally for the season for club and country to 20 and Charles will be looking to immediately add to that when he spearheads Wanderers’ bid for Papa Johns Trophy glory in Sunday’s final against Plymouth Argyle.
“That’s the biggest thing I can bring back from that – confidence of scoring on the international stage,” said Charles.
“To come back and have another big stage like Wembley is something you dream of doing.
“I started at the bottom, I’ve worked hard and it just shows if you’re willing to put the effort in and work hard there’s no limited. Hopefully I can hit 20 for the Bolton season as quickly as possible.
“If I could do that it would be brilliant. I’ve got 20 for the season now, which I was said I would do. Now it’s time to get even more – hopefully.”
After playing non-league football and then taking a second chance in the EFL with Accrington Stanley, Charles helped the Whites knock out his former club in the semi-finals of the Trophy to set up Sunday’s big date.
Playing at Wembley will fulfil a lifelong ambition for Charles but the 27-year-old – who made the switch to Wanderers 14 months ago – is putting business firmly ahead of pleasure as Ian Evatt’s men look to win a knock-out trophy for the club for the first time in 34 years.
“Everybody plays football for these types of games – a cup final at Wembley,” added Charles - Wanderers’ leading scorer who is two goals away from becoming the first Bolton player to score 20 club goals in a season since 2000/01.
“Some people go their whole career without getting to play there. It’s going to be a great occasion for everyone at the club and we’re all looking forward to it.
“There will be that excitement, but we can’t let that get the better of us. We need to concentrate.
“We’re going down there with a job to do and we’ve got 35,000 Bolton fans coming down to support us, so we need to give them something worth travelling down for.
“Once we step on the pitch it’s serious. It’s time to go to work. The build-up to the game you have to take as a normal game and not let the occasion get to us and play how we do. If we can do that, we feel we are more than a match for anybody.
“It’s going to be a great footballing game; two big clubs in League One, so it’s going to be a great advert for League One football.
“It would mean the world (to win). There’s no point getting to a final if you don’t want to win it. It’s going to be brilliant.”
Watch Dion's pre-Wembley club interview in full on the video above