Byron Webster says Millwall have responded to their critics by reaching the League One play-off final for a second successive year.
Barnsley’s win over Millwall denied the Lions promotion to the Championship last term - and there were whispers of a Wembley hangover after a winless September for Neil Harris’ side.
But a 16-game unbeaten league run helped secure a top six finish, and then they beat Scunthorpe in the play-off semi-final to set up the showdown with Bradford on Saturday.
Webster, 30, said: “I think a lot of us have responded to our critics.
“This season has brought a lot of ups and downs. The highs have been really good, you look at the FA Cup run, the unbeaten run in the league.
“But obviously, we had that month when we lost most of our games. Our fans, they’re very passionate and vocal, if you’re doing well, they’re there to support you. But if you’re not doing so well, they’ll tell you.”
Webster suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem in the warm-up before last year’s final and was forced to watch from the dugout.
The former Yeovil defender sustained the injury in the second leg of their play-off semi-final win over Saturday’s opponents Bradford.
He talked about the pain of missing out on the final, but now he is fully fit to take on the Bantams and make it second time lucky for Millwall.
Webster added: “I got a great tan, to be fair. But seriously, it was rubbish to miss it, really rubbish.
“I remember going into the changing room and the lads came up to me, and I was wishing them all the best.
Tony Craig and Jordan Archer after last year's play-off final defeat at Wembley
“There was a little bit of banter flying about. I was down until Fordey [David Forde] came up to me and said ‘get a smile on your face and give the lads all of your support’.
“It wasn’t meant to be, but we’re there again this year and we’re hoping to go one better.
“There’s no getting away from it, Bradford is a massive game. We want to play in the Championship.
“It benefits us as individuals, the club and the fans, too. I’m sure they’d prefer to see us playing against the likes of Leeds and Sunderland. So that’s the pressure we put on ourselves.”