DERBY County’s cult hero Jake Buxton will have the final word seconds before kick-off in tomorrow’s Championship play-off final.
The former Burton Albion defender will look to deliver an inspiring and stirring message to his team mates in their pre-match huddle on the Wembley pitch before they face Queen’s Park Rangers in what is billed as a £120 million showdown for a place in the Premier League.
Buxton has had a remarkable journey in the past five years from non-league to the verge of English football’s top flight.
His performances this season have earned him player-of-the-year awards and he has become a huge favourite with the fans.
Richard Keogh will lead the team out, and the skipper said: “I will say what I need to say in the dressing room.
“Last season, I must have spoken in the pre-match huddle before 40-odd matches and the lads were just laughing at the end of it because I was repeating the same stuff!
“Bucko has been doing it recently and we are on an unbeaten run of eight matches – so he will do it on Saturday.”
Buxton admits his words in the pre-match huddle have been emotional.
“I just try to talk about things that might mean a lot to the players,” said Buxton.
“We talk about what drives you on in life – your family, your kids or maybe the haters and the doubters.
“We try to visualise winning and being successful, but it won’t be broadcast-able!
“We have got 20-odd leaders in the group, and saying a few words in the pre-match huddle has happened to land with me.
“Richard (Keogh) is the captain and he gets his message across on the pitch.
“I just try to get the message across in the huddle before kick off.”