DEAN Lyness is excited about appearing in his first-ever play-offs, but hopes his team-mates can learn from the one he missed out on last season.
Lyness was on the bench as Burton Albion lost in last season’s League Two semi-final, after losing his place in the final game of the regular campaign to Stuart Tomlinson.
The popular young goalkeeper looks likely to start Sunday’s first leg against Southend United at the Pirelli Stadium and, asked if he was excited about the play-offs, he said: “Oh yeah.
“We’ve worked all season to try and get ourselves in a good position and now hopefully we can enjoy the experience.
“I think we’ll have learned massively from last year – we took the lead against Bradford but it was the first time the club had been in the play-offs.
“I think we can take huge confidence from the fact that we’ve done it again this season, and there’s boys who’ll have taken a lot on board from last season.
“There’s a lot of experience in the squad as well, so hopefully we can give it a go.”
Albion will be all too aware of the threat posed by their Essex rivals this weekend, having lost 1-0 to them at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Barry Corr’s first-half winner saw the Shrimpers become the first and only side to do the double over Gary Rowett’s men this season, after winning by the same scoreline in Staffordshire.
“We’re disappointed we’ve lost the game,” said Lyness
“I don’t think they really threatened the goal too much apart from the goal.
“But on the back of what we’ve done over the course of this season, we can go into the play-offs full of confidence.
“Everything we’ve done during the week is always geared towards what happens on the Saturday.
“Since we’ve known we were in the play-offs, the focus has been making we’re 100 per cent right for that.
“That doesn’t mean we’ve not committed to the games we’ve played, although we obviously haven’t played as well as we can.
“But know we can really start to regroup, go into the play-offs and look to win them.
“We kind of know what to expect from them, and hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”
Had Albion not lost, they would have played York City but perhaps more importantly, would have had the second leg at home.
However, boss Rowett did not see that as necessarily being a disadvantage, and Lyness agreed, given Albion’s decent away form and the fact that they threw away a first-leg away lead last season.
“We’ve got to go and try and take the initiative at home, but at the same time knowing it’s not just one game,” said the former Birmingham City goalkeeper.
“We’ve got to get ourselves into a position where we can go into the second leg with a lead.
“It didn’t work last time - playing at home second - so hopefully it can be vice versa this year.”
Lyness has faced an ongoing battle to be number one this season, with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Benjamin Siegrist, Mats Morch, Rob Lainton, Freddy Hall and even Kevin Poole either challenging him for his place or waiting in the wings.
But since replacing the injured Lainton at Northampton last month, Lyness has been first choice, though he takes nothing for granted.
He said: “It’s great to be on the pitch and playing, but I just take it one game at a time and try and keep the ball out of the net.”