MICHAEL Ricketts hopes that past history with Oxford United can give Wanderers the same psychological edge as it did when he lifted a play-off trophy.

The former England striker scored in Bolton’s 3-0 win against Preston North End at the Millennium Stadium in 2001 to help the club back into the Premier League.

Sam Allardyce’s side had finished well behind Fulham and Blackburn in the automatic promotion spots, but they had the measure of David Moyes’s men on two previous occasions during the regular season.

Looking at Bolton’s 5-0 televised win against Oxford in March, he hopes to see the modern day Whites take the same confidence into their game at Wembley.

“We felt we were a better team with better players, and we’d already beaten them twice,” he told The Bolton News. “One of them had been on Sky.

“When you get into a final there is always some pressure and we were the favourites but there was a confidence there. We’d finished third and there hadn’t been the expectation to finish top two or win the league because of the money being spent.

“We’d finished behind Fulham, who for my money were the best Championship side ever, and a Blackburn Rovers team who had some incredible stars like Matt Jansen, Garry Flitcroft, David Dunn and Damien Duff.

“I think maybe we could have challenged Blackburn a bit more but when they’d beaten us 4-1 away we knew that was that. I fancied us in the play-offs with the exception of the first hour in the semi-final against West Brom, that was the only point I thought we were struggling a bit.

“By the time we got to the final we felt like we could beat Preston. I think those previous results had given us an edge and it might be the same for Oxford – their players will be thinking ‘we don’t want a repeat of that.’

“They will have to analyse how Bolton beat them 5-0, so whether they defend a bit deeper, I think it’ll play into their hands. Wembley is a massive pitch when you go to do that.”

Ricketts entered the 2001 final in the 70th minute with the scoreline at 1-0 and remembers the relief of hitting the back of the net.

“It had been quite an open game – David Healy had a good chance and Matt Clarke had made a really good save. It started going end-to-end, and when you had players like Gareth Farrelly who could pick a pass, or Kevin Nolan and Ricardo Gardner who could take the ball up the pitch, we had a chance.

“I still haven’t forgiven Ricardo for not squaring that last one to me.

“I just hope the lads can have the same sort of fun as we did. I’ll never forget that day and now my kids are getting into YouTube and that, they can appreciate the clips with me!”