sport news Bristol Rovers striker John Marquis dreaming of Wembley in Papa Johns Trophy trends now
Every Englishman who's kicked a football has dreamed of playing at Wembley Stadium and London boy John Marquis was no exception.
But when his chance to walk out at the national stadium finally came, he was robbed of the full experience.
Striker Marquis was part of the Portsmouth team that reached the final of the EFL Trophy in the 2019-20 season.
John Marquis tries to turn the ball goalwards while playing for Portsmouth against Salford in the 2020 Papa Johns Trophy final at an empty Wembley Stadium
Marquis always wanted to play at the national stadium but was robbed of the full experience
But because of the Covid pandemic, not only was their final against Salford City delayed 12 months, it had to be played behind closed doors.
And for all the romance we associate with Wembley, 90,000 empty seats are a hell of a lot of empty seats.
Marquis is now hoping to fire Bristol Rovers to Wembley in the Papa Johns Trophy
Even worse, Portsmouth lost on penalties following a drab goalless 120 minutes and Marquis, who was subbed off in extra time, had to make do with a runners-up medal.
'It was a bit eerie. You go to the national stadium, one of the highlights of your career is getting to Wembley, any player no longer playing would tell you that,' Marquis tells Sportsmail.
'So to not even have your family and friends there, let alone all the supporters who have followed you up and down the country all season, it was a bit strange and it didn't feel like a cup final.
'It was nil-nil after extra time and then losing on penalties summed it up really. The game sort of fizzed out with no energy or quality, then it came down to a penalty shoot-out and then it's luck of the draw.
'So it wasn't the best memory of my last visit there and I'd like to get another chance to go there with the supporters and my friends and family to watch me run out at Wembley again.'
Fortunately for Marquis, now a Bristol Rovers player, the Wembley Arch once again looms on the proverbial horizon.
The League One play-off hopefuls are into the last eight of the Papa Johns Trophy and this Tuesday entertain Plymouth Argyle at the Memorial Stadium.
It's undoubtedly a tough draw - Argyle are flying high at the top of League One - but Rovers under manager Joey Barton have proved that anything is possible.
Promoted from League Two on the final day of last season by virtue of goals scored after beating Scunthorpe 7-0, they have gradually readjusted to third-tier life and are sniffing the top six.
Bristol Rovers are pushing for the League One play-offs and won 2-1