NORTHAMPTON took the bait – just as Phil Parkinson had warned they would.

The City boss was not happy about an interview I did with Nahki Wells in the week leading up to the League Two play-off final.

Wells was just stating facts – he always scored against Northampton and was confident of maintaining that streak on the biggest stage.

He had put three past the Cobblers that season to go with a maiden hat-trick at Sixfields the previous year.

But Parkinson, naturally trying to play everything down before Wembley, saw it as the stuff to potentially stir up the opposition before their promotion showdown.

Northampton’s Eccleshill-born boss Aidy Boothroyd read it all right and bit. It did not do his team any favours.

Speaking seven years to the day of City’s 3-0 triumph, Wells said: “I remember doing the piece and Aidy Boothroyd came back with some comments like, ‘how does he know that he’s even playing and he’s talking about scoring?’

“I didn’t want to ever come across as arrogant but I was confident. I knew I could score.

“Seeing what Boothroyd said drove me on in a respectful manner to prove him wrong again.

“I had six goals in five games against them and I was ready for the big occasion. It was something that had to happen and it just did.”

Given the way that City steamrollered Northampton that afternoon, Wells’ goal after 28 minutes – tapping in at the near-post from Garry Thompson’s knockdown - was almost a footnote.

James Hanson and Rory McArdle had already netted and another victory over the Cobblers appeared a shoo-in.

“It was strange,” admitted Wells. “In the changing room at half-time, you almost wanted to laugh.

“But we were also thinking, ‘we cannot throw this away’. We couldn’t take our foot off the pedal.

“We just knew we had what it takes to win that game.

“It had been such a long season but we could see the finish line was there.

“We could have gone on and got more but it was important we didn’t concede one and give them any hope.”

Nobody could have imagined the marathon journey that 2012/13 would become. Of the 64 games City played, two of them in Wembley finals, Wells appeared in 54.

He was one of eight in Parkinson’s squad to clock up over a half century of outings, including the historic League Cup campaign, the play-offs FA Cup replays and even a lengthy run in the Football League Trophy.

Wells said: “I remember going through it at the end and we were working out how many games everyone played. You were comparing it with the number that (Cristiano) Ronaldo and Messi will do.

“It’s unreal playing almost every minute of every game in every competition, three times a week for most of the year. That was what it was like.

“But it helps to be young and fit. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to get through my career without any bad injury.”

Wells top-scored with 26, despite going two months without a goal around the Capital One Cup final and losing his place.

He ended the drought, inevitably, with a Valley Parade winner against Northampton and finished by scoring half of City’s play-off tally of eight.

“As a striker, you need to be on it. I had that little spell when I wasn’t scoring and got taken out the team.

“But that bit of rest may have helped because I came back sharper.

"The League Cup final was very different. We all had high hopes and wanted to make that achievement but unfortunately we didn't.

"But we used that experience to take into the Northampton game.

"We were probably the favourites going into it and it was one, in our minds, that we had to win.

"To have got to two finals and ended the season with nothing would have knocked the morale out of everyone. There was pressure to win.

"But I always felt we were the better team and we showed that superiority on the day. It was a joy.

"To win in the fashion that we did put into perspective how well we had done that year in every competition."

The Bermudian had been a spectator on the fringes of Carlisle’s Football League Trophy-winning squad in 2011 – and was the 57th-minute fall guy for the change of keepers after Matt Duke’s red card in Swansea’s 5-0 romp on City’s previous Wembley trip three months before.

But he finally had the moment he had dreamed of as a youngster in the Caribbean.

“I was quite driven to play in the big stadiums and have success one day and it became more of a realistic dream when I got over here. It became closer and closer.

“To get promoted at Wembley and score as well was very special.”