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Bradford City ace Will Atkinson: Come on feel the noise at Wembley!
BANTAMS BOOM! Will Atkinson, pictured in action during the semi-final win over Aston Villa, can’t imagine the level of noise which City fans are set to generate at Wembley
Will Atkinson expects to be blown away by the claret and amber army that will roar on City at Wembley.
The squad leave Brad-ford this morning for the final leg of their against-all-odds Capital One Cup journey.
Midfielder Atkinson admits they are still pinching themselves at the thought of facing Swansea in Sunday’s final.
And he is bracing himself for the reaction from the stands as a wall of City noise comes cascading down.
Atkinson said: “I’ve tried to picture what it will be like. But even in your imagination you can’t get to grips with what it’s going to be like when you walk out and hear the roar.
“It was loud enough when we went away to Wigan with 5,000 there. Having around 35,000 is going to be incredible.
“To call this club a sleeping giant is probably an understatement.
“Look at the home ties against Arsenal and Villa with full houses. The fans have been unbelievable in both the league and cup and we owe it to them being in the final as much as ourselves.”
Nobody sums up City’s incredible transformation from League Two strugglers to cup finalists better than Atkinson. This time last year, he was targeted by the boo boys after a tough loan spell.
“It’s part and parcel of football,” he said. “But you can’t be a shrinking violet.
“When times get rough, that’s when you need to be at your best. You’ve got to keep believing in yourself that you will come out strong.
“Being honest, it wasn’t a great place to be around at the end of last season. We were losing games, weren’t playing well and the expectations are a lot higher here.
“You still have to pinch yourself that we’re talking about going to a final now. The turn-around has been massive – but things can change that quick in football.
“We’ve got a few new players who have freshened up the squad a bit and confidence is high. Look where we are now to where we were and you wouldn’t believe it.
“For me personally it’s been thoroughly enjoyable and hopefully we can get more success. Hopefully this cup run will be the snowball effect for Bradford City and we can go on and on.”
Atkinson has started all seven cup ties – one of five ever-presents – and admits the excitement has built with each unexpected success.
He added: “You think it can’t get any better but then it seems to. You just enjoy every moment.
“We’ll go into this game with the same feeling. That’s what we’ve done in previous rounds and there’s no reason why it can’t work in our favour again.”
It will be Swansea’s first appearance in a major final in their 100-year history. Michael Laudrup’s side – currently 71 places above City – will start favourites but that lack of big-game experience could be a factor.
Atkinson said: “It might help because it’s a massive day for them as well. They’ve not been to Wembley in a cup final so it’s a big achievement for them to get there.
“The fact that it’s a massive deal for a Premier League team puts into perspective what a great job we’ve done.
“It does even it out a little bit but they are still in the top flight and are going well. We all know it’s going to be a tough game but we’ll enjoy the day and see where it takes us.”