Dempsey | Down To Us To Do The Business

Dempsey celebration Peterborough

Kyle Dempsey believes the best of Bolton is capable of propelling Wanderers past Barnsley to keep their promotion target in view, writes Pete Oliver.

Wanderers will face the Tykes in the play-off semi-finals for the second season running, with the winners then going on to a Wembley shoot-out against either Peterborough United or Oxford United.

Wanderers’ third-place finish was confirmed in Saturday’s closing round of League One fixtures as Ian Evatt’s men drew 3-3 at Peterborough and Derby County beat Carlisle United to hang onto second spot.

Dempsey’s early headed goal at London Road and a penalty from Dion Charles minutes later briefly raised hopes of a final dramatic twist in the promotion race.

But with neither result ultimately going Wanderers’ way, Dempsey and his team-mates are now setting their sights on over-turning last season’s play-off exit to Barnsley with the kind of performance needed to reach the final on 18th May and the chance to make it to the Championship via the long route.  

“We can’t look at it as trying to see if Carlisle were going to get a result,” said the Wanderers’ midfield man following his fourth goal of the campaign. “I think we know as a group over the 46 games we haven't been good enough. That's why we've finished third. Now the focus is just the play-offs, it's as simple as that.

“We’ve just got to concentrate on being ourselves. Last year over the two legs I don't think we showed our true self. I think we showed it in spells and now it's the concentration of showing up in both 90 minutes and making sure that we take care of business.


Kyle Dempsey goal Peterborough

“I don’t think last year comes into it. I think we're a better team this year. Our mindset has just got to be turn up, show our best version of ourselves and if we show the best version of ourselves, I think we win the game.

“We all want that Wembley day again. We've had that taste in the Papa John's Trophy last season and seeing how good it was for the fans, friends, family and yourself, we want that again. But it's down to us to take care of the business over two legs.”

Wanderers face Barnsley at Oakwell in the semi-final first leg on Friday night before the return at the Toughsheet Community Stadium next Tuesday night as they look reverse last season’s tight 2-1 aggregate loss.

And Evatt’s men will go into the tie unbeaten in seven games after a late equaliser at Peterborough.

Wanderers threatened to blow the Posh away in a blistering start led by Dempsey’s fourth-minute goal on his return to starting duty.

Peterborough hit back after the break but Cameron Jerome’s third goal in as many games means the Whites will head to Oakwell with just one defeat in their  last 12 matches - a run which includes a 2-2 draw at Barnsley in early March when Wanderers hit back from 2-0 down to stall the Reds' momentum on their way to a sixth-place finish.

“I think you've got to give them (Peterborough) credit,” added Dempsey. “I think it was a really good game to watch, two really good sides going at it toe to toe and getting that late equaliser back and making it 3-3 is a confidence-booster for us.

“You don't want to go into the play-offs losing a game, especially when we were 2-0 up. But we're going to stay positive. We know the amount of ability in our squad. We've got people who can come in and rely on and it's about having a really good week now, a really positive week and going into the play-offs all guns blazing.

“Our main focus all year has been to get promoted and get out of this league. We set it out at the start of the year and we've still got a chance to do that. Now it's just on us as a group, as players, to deliver the goods and make sure we get out of this league.”

Watch Kyle's full post-match interview on Wanderers TV HERE

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