WATCHING Wanderers from the Wembley stands will be a more enjoyable experience than it was playing for them on the pitch for former captain, Kevin Davies.

‘Super Kev’ needs no reminder of a day when everything went wrong for Bolton in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final against Stoke City but, happily, he has more pleasant memories of the stadium to draw back on in his playing retirement.

Victory playing for Preston North End against Swindon Town in his last-ever game as a professional left a sweeter taste, as did the night he pulled on an England shirt against Montenegro in 2010 at the age of 33.

Now he would like nothing more than to watch Ian Evatt’s Whites lift a trophy at Wembley, a footballing palate cleanser for what he believes will be a bright future.

“It would be nice to lay that Stoke ghost to rest,” he told The Bolton News. “We can all leave that behind now.

“It will be nice to go, relax, drive up with the kids and meet a few old friends there and sit together. We’ll bump into a few fans and I’ll try and enjoy the day without any pressure on myself.

“I remember my first time at Wembley, I was about 10, and it makes the old hairs go up on the back of the neck. There’s something special about it.

“Going with the kids, they still love the town and the club, my daughter (Lana) gets into it and the boys (Lucas and Leo), we are all in it as Bolton fans. Hopefully they can do the business.

“It all seems to be heading in the right direction after some difficult times, so hopefully it will be a day to celebrate all that.”

Davies hopes a win in the final can give Wanderers momentum in the final eight games to secure their place in the top six, and have a go at the play-offs. But even if the worst were to happen, he believes Evatt and his side has plenty of time to refocus on what would have been their primary goal at the start of the season.

“It isn’t at the end of the season, so it shouldn’t be a distraction on the league,” he said. “It won’t be a disaster if they lose because they want to get into he play-offs, they have made this one, there’s no reason why they can’t make two.

“Bolton will have set out their stall at the start of the season for promotion and possibly a good cup run, and they have done both, which is great.

“The timing is good, they have had a couple of weeks to rest, so the preparations should be good.

“There is a buzz around the whole town. I remember going with Chesterfield to Old Trafford to play against Middlesbrough and it just feels like the whole place changes. You have to embrace that, take it in, then try and handle your nerves.”

Although his memories of Wembley with Wanderers are understandably vague, winning at Wembley is a feeling Davies is only too happy to discuss.

He still ranks the quarter-final victory against Birmingham City at St Andrews as one of his favourite footballing memories but being able to point to a winner’s medal with Preston in the play-offs is still a source of great pride.

“I sampled a bit of everything,” he said. “My last game at Preston was an amazing day, it was the first time they had done it in the play-offs and my kids were that bit older so it was nice for them to see me win at Wembley.

“Just going up the steps and getting your hands on the trophy was a feeling I won’t forget – and I hadn’t started the game because Jermaine Beckford and Joel Garner were on fire at the time. I got a cameo at 4-0 towards the end.

“I got to the final with Southampton but missed out, and that was at the Millennium. The competition has always had a bit of heartache attached to it, for me. Chesterfield was a different kind of thing because we weren’t expected to do anything, it was just a crest of a wave, something totally different for players from League Two or League One to go to Old Trafford.

“I still get goosebumps watching that. And I think we would have given Chelsea a better game in the final.

“You want it so badly as a player, a dad, a captain, you can get a bit uptight about it and can’t take in the crowd and the atmosphere, how well you’d done just to get there. Depending on the result it can be two totally different emotions.

“That semi-final was the most upset I have been, seeing the fans, my kids, feeling ashamed and embarrassed. We had all felt when the draw came out and after what had happened to Nat Lofthouse that we had a chance of getting to the final and possibly winning it. But it turned out to be a massive kick in the nuts.

“I don’t remember anything about the game, I’ve never watched it back.

“So, I hope Bolton can go down there and get it right.”