TODAY should have been the League Two play-off final.

Just imagine if, and it’s a big if, Wembley way was once more swathed in claret and amber as City prepared to battle it out for the final promotion spot.

That might have been a flight of fancy given the hot-and-cold form heading into the football lockdown two months ago.

But still, just admit we’ve all had a moment at some point in this interminable break to let the imagination wander.

It has been seven years since those dreams last became reality when Northampton were swamped inside 28 merciless minutes.

Three up with the final less than a third in – even Phil Parkinson was lost for words by his side’s mastery of the biggest occasion.

The muted reaction from the manager at half-time remains one of the abiding memories of that day for Nathan Doyle.

“We came in at 3-0 and the gaffer didn’t know what to say,” he recalled. “It was weird.

“We’d played so many games that season and never been in that position at half-time.

“I’m sure the gaffer had stuff he’d prepared but you could see he wasn’t expecting to be three up. All he could talk about was to ‘keep doing what you’re doing’.

“You could have picked the best players in League Two outside of Bradford City and put them up against us. We’d still have won that day.

“Even if Northampton had got a goal back, they’d have spent so much energy to do it. If they’d got one, we’d have got two more.

“As soon as we’d beaten Burton, I knew we would win.

“I wouldn’t call it arrogance or cockiness but we had a bit of swagger. There were no nerves.”

Doyle had not started the first play-off game against Burton in the semi-finals as Parkinson went with Ricky Ravenhill alongside Gary Jones.

But he had made the switch from the bench by the point that Garry Thompson’s rocket had roared the Bantams back into the tie in the second half.

Doyle sensed the momentum swing from that moment, even going into the return leg a goal down to a side very strong at home.

“We’d had that experience of Arsenal, Wigan and (Aston) Villa in the cup and come through tough times. We always that belief.

“I never once thought that we would not get to Wembley. The travelling support was absolutely tremendous and made it feel like we were the home team.

“There was no negative vibe, we were all confident.

“We had two good players for each position, whether it was Kyel Reid or Will Atkinson on the left wing or Thommo and Zav Hines on the right. We were all behind each other.

“When Ricky wasn’t starting, he was the first person to tell me to go out and get the job done. That’s the way it was.

“Although Ricky probably didn’t play as many games as he would have wanted, we were all in it together.”

That experience of Wembley from three months before, however painful at the time as Swansea ran riot, paid dividends on the return trip which Parkinson treated as “just another away day”.

While Northampton, all suited and booted, had gone to the stadium the day before to take in the sights, City’s track-suited troops got down to business. They’d had all that pizzazz in the Capital One Cup.

Doyle said: “It was different from the cup final. We knew what we were doing.

“Before the Swansea game, we’d had all the press down at the ground and being measured up for suits and stuff. Northampton were doing all that but for us it was just another big away game.

“If they were honest, Northampton were too worried about us.

“I played with Luke Guttridge at Luton years after and he told me, ‘we concentrated too much on you lot’.

“They knew Nahki (Wells) and James Hanson up front could destroy anybody and how good we were at set-plays.

“We’d played them five times already that season and they never beat us. Once, I’d even played centre half down there against (Adebayo) Akinfenwa.

“But we’d played that many games and changed our team that many times and still always got the result.”

Goals from Hanson, Rory McArdle and Wells before the half-hour point confirmed City’s stranglehold on the Cobblers that year – and ensured a historic campaign would end in glory.

“It had been such a long slog and to come back to Wembley again, we just wanted to cherish it.

“Seven years is a long time but it still feels like yesterday. It was a day all the lads will remember forever.”