Joel Coleman was nearly the hero of Wanderers’ penalty shootout against Blackpool, but sometimes football can be a cruel game.

The goalkeeper denied Bolton-born Ollie Norburn and Jordan Gabriel from 12 yards but eventually ended up on the losing side.

“If you save two out of the first five, the majority of the time you do win the penalty shootout but it is what it is,” he said.

“I am just happy to be playing because obviously I have only played five or six times this season. I want to help the boys as much as I can, whether it is the cup or the league.

“Now, our full focus is on trying to get the promotion. That has always been our main focus and hopefully I can help the boys again this season.”

Coleman was also close to saving Karamoko Dembele’s spot kick but in the end, it just wasn’t Wanderers’ day.

“I predicted he was going low and my trailing hand nearly saved it,” he continued. “It is what it is, they were all good pens.

“They smashed a few down the middle and sometimes it is pot luck. (Richard) O’Donnell made some great saves so he deserves to take them to the semi-final.

“I wish them the best of luck and hopefully we beat them when we come back in the league.”

Dion Charles and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson were both denied by O’Donnell before Zac Ashworth had the misfortune of missing the final penalty, but Coleman is confident the West Brom loanee will take it in his stride.

“He is a young lad, it is a learning curve for him,” said the goalkeeper. “He is a top lad and has been playing well in the league. Hopefully, he plays well on Saturday and puts this behind him.”

A few weeks ago, Wanderers still had three competitions to contend with but now the League One promotion race is their sole focus.

The Whites don’t have any time to dwell on the result at Bloomfield Road, with another big test coming up against Barnsley on Saturday.

“Obviously, we play Blackpool again in the next few weeks and we know how tough they are, they are a great team,” said Coleman.

“Hopefully, we can get the three points when we come back. We have got a big game on Saturday and it is about taking each game as it comes now.

“Our full focus is on the league now and it is going to be Saturday, Tuesday until the end of the season. We are looking forward to it.”

He added: “Our main focus has always been to get back to the Championship and if that means bowing out of the cup, but we win here and get three points to help us get promoted, it will all be worthwhile.

“We need to put this behind us now and be positive. We can’t do anything about it now, this competition is done.

“We wish them the best of luck and all our focus – week in, week out – is on the end of the season and trying to get promoted.”

A local lad, Coleman is yet to make his league debut for Wanderers due to Nathan Baxter’s consistent form between the sticks.

The 28-year-old vowed to keep working hard in training and ensure he is ready for any further opportunities that come his way.

“It has been tough. For the majority of my career I have been a number two trying to push the number one,” he reflected.

“I have done that in every league I’ve been in, but our main focus is to try and get back to the Championship.

“If I don’t play at all and we do it, I will support the lads week in, week out, be positive around the dressing room and push Nathan every day to make him better and make myself better.

“I really enjoy being here and I have loved every game I have played. The boys are a credit.”

Coleman also hailed Matt Gilks for the work he does on the training pitch to make sure complacency doesn’t creep in.

“Gillo, every day he is driving the standards. He knows we are both capable of playing in the league and he tests us every day to try and get better,” he explained.

“Hopefully, one day I can start being a number one but until that day comes, I just have to keep working hard to improve, and try to impress when I get my chance.”