Fond Farewell For Trafford

James Trafford ended his Wanderers’ residency on a high but hopes there’s still a big finish to come.

Trafford made the final home appearance of his second loan spell from Manchester City in Saturday’s play-off semi-final opener against Barnsley.

The England U21 goalkeeper made a couple of vital saves to help Ian Evatt’s men secure a 1-1 draw and go to Oakwell for Friday night’s second leg on level terms.

And after collecting the man-of-the-match award from broadcasters Sky Sports, the 20-year-old said a fond farewell to the University of Bolton Stadium fans alongside fellow loanee and big pal Conor Bradley.

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“On a personal note, it was a good way to go out, getting man of the match,” said Trafford, who kept 22 clean sheets in League One this season and has enjoyed an outstanding 18 months at Wanderers during his two temporary stays.

“It was nice that a lot of fans waited afterwards and applauded us. It showed their appreciation towards us, as well as ours towards them.

“Me and Conor were doing the lap and clapping the fans and we were talking to each other and saying it’s quite weird how it was our last game at this stadium.

“It’s a stadium where we’ve performed very well and it’s kind of moulded us into the people where we are now.

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“Conor will vouch for that himself and we’ve got so much admiration for the club and the stadium and how good it all is.

“I’ll go with a lot of fond memories and if I’m local next season I’ll be at a lot of games and Bolton will be a massive part of me and my family and all my friends, because they love it as well and get treated really well. We can’t say enough positive things about the club.”

Trafford still has at least one more game to play for the Whites – and hopefully two if Wanderers can win at Oakwell and set up a promotion decider at Wembley against either Sheffield Wednesday or Peterborough on 29 May.

Peterborough are red-hot favourites to progress thanks to the 4-0 lead they take to Hillsborough on Thursday night for the second leg of their semi-final.

And while Wanderers also went behind in their tie, a Dion Charles’ equaliser will send Evatt’s men to South Yorkshire in upbeat mood.

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“Quite a few of us watched the first game and we saw how quickly one can become two and two can become three and then it’s more or less tie over,” added Trafford.

“So it’s really positive for us when the first one went in we didn’t sink. After the goal we probably put out our best passage of play and ended up in us getting a goal.

“I was really pleased with how we responded and finished the game the more likely to score. We played better and so it’s positive we have good momentum going into next week.

“It really sets it up in an exciting position for both teams. The expectation will be on them, especially being at home, but we’ve got to use that in our favour. If we trust each other and play fluidly, as we do, I think we’ve got a really good chance.

“The final hasn’t really crossed our minds because we know we have to win the second leg. A win is all it takes and that’s all we’re thinking about. We’ll have a really good week of preparation and hopefully we can go and do it.”

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