Dean Cox admits the prospect of playing at Wembley for the first time “would be very special”.
The former Brighton & Hove Albion winger moved a significant step closer to realising a dream after Leyton Orient’s 1-0 win over Yeovil Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Only League Two outfit Southend United stand in their way from a place in the final at the world famous stadium.
Cox, pictured, said: “We’re delighted and we want to get to Wembley. The lads are buzzing. Hopefully we can get this place rocking with a great atmosphere and get ourselves to Wembley. The fans were brilliant, they played their part and we sent them home happy.
“I haven’t played at Wembley and I think you could tell that from the way I celebrated the goal. It was like I scored the winner to be honest. I've been there to watch England but to get there and have my mum and dad and missus to come down and watch me at Wembley would be very special.”
Orient left it late to pinch the win but Cox always felt there was an opportunity for the O’s to get the breakthrough and avoid the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.
The 25-year-old said: “To be fair, I thought there was one chance in it. Even though we were down to ten men we were still pushing on and going for it. I think the substitution putting Cooky [Lee] on was a positive one and it’s paid dividends tonight.
“It was a scrappy game and you know what they’re like with long balls and flick-ons. It's boring for the neutral and boring for us because we try to a play a bit to be honest. I think it was the right result and we owed them one from the recent 3-0 defeat.
“We were both desperate to get through. No disrespect to them or us but I think the play-offs might be out of reach for the two clubs but this is a competition that we’re taking seriously. Getting to where we are now, we want to get there [the final] now.”
The 31-year-old has been surprised by criticism of the club from some quarters this season. Orient are still in the FA Cup and only eight points off the League One play-offs with at least one game in hand so Cox feels the team are in a strong position.
He said: “Some people say it's a bad season but I think we’re doing alright. We’re still in two cup competitions and we’ve dropped down the league but we’ve got a couple of games in hand and if we win them then we’re right back in the mix.
“People said it’s been a bad season but I think we’ve got to laugh that off a bit and put it in persective. We’re doing well. We don’t want to get too carried away but if we keep going in the league and keep picking up those points we’ll be fine.”