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Raffaele De Vita aims to make up for Wembley blow with Bradford City
Raffaele De Vita has set his Johnstone’s Paint Trophy sights on going one step further than the Wembley bench.
The Italian winger will be one of the changes at Hartlepool tonight as Phil Parkinson shuffles his pack for the first round.
De Vita has reached the final of the lower-league cup competition before with Swindon – but never got further than the dugout as they lost the 2012 final 2-0 to Chesterfield.
He had been a regular in the side that went all the way to the last two, playing in both legs of the area final against Barnet, but fell victim to Paolo Di Canio’s managerial methods on the eve of the big showpiece.
De Vita said: “If I remember rightly, we had three new players who had just come in that week. I think they signed on the Thursday and then all played on the Sunday at Wembley. But that was typical of the manager.
“All the games leading to Wembley were really good and it was a great experience on the day. But obviously I was disappointed not to be involved.”
And while Wembley became City’s second home last season, the prospect of playing in the national stadium should be incentive enough as the JP Trophy makes its traditionally low-key start.
De Vita certainly believes there is plenty to aim for in a competition that many look down their noses at.
He said: “For the first few games, you’re thinking that it doesn’t matter if you get knocked out.
“But if you go through the first round and then the second, suddenly you’re getting closer to the area finals and the final itself.
“Then you look back and realise that it was worth giving it a real shot. So this is a big game for us this evening.
“It’s a great chance to go to Wembley, especially for a club in League One – and when you get there, you realise how much you wanted to do it.
“You’re there knowing that every other team is watching on TV thinking they’d love to swap places. So we absolutely need to give our best in this competition.”
De Vita has featured chiefly as a late substitute since joining City in the summer. His only start came in the Capital One Cup at Huddersfield.
Like fellow new recruits Jason Kennedy and Matt Taylor, he appreciates opportunities have been limited because the starting 11 has been so settled.
“The team is doing really well, so for myself and some of the other players it’s just been a case of making an impact when you come on,” said De Vita.
“I’ve been trying to do that and, if I get the chance at Hartlepool, I’ll do my best to play well. Reidy (Kyel Reid) definitely did that on Saturday and hopefully I can do the same.
“It’s a great club and I love being here. The support you get is not usual for League One – it’s a really good experience.
“The manager always says if you do the right thing, you’ll eventually get your chance. You’ve got to be ready for when that comes.”
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