Loan star Cullen targets Wembley glory with Charlton

Josh Cullen in action for Charlton Athletic


Josh Cullen is hoping to strike it second-time lucky when he returns to Wembley for Sunday’s EFL League One Play-Off final.

The on-loan West Ham United midfielder has been instrumental in leading Charlton Athletic to the Home of Football, where they will take on Sunderland, with the winners earning a place in the Championship for next season.

Cullen was part of the Bradford City side beaten by Millwall in the same fixture two years ago and the 23-year-old is determined to finish on the winning team this time around.

“I’ve been there and done it before and I know it’s a great occasion and a great arena to play in, but I want to make sure we get the win this time,” he said.

“Playing in front of a big crowd is obviously different and I should mention our fans have been fantastic and they’ve stuck by us and going to Wembley is for them. I’m sure they’ll pack it out again.

“The lads are buzzing to be playing at one of the best stadiums in the world will be ready. We will all prepare right and be mentally and physically ready to go on Sunday.”


Josh Cullen reached the League One Play-Off final with Bradford City in 2017


Charlton and Sunderland famously played out an unforgettable Division One Play-Off final at the old Wembley back in 1998, drawing 4-4 before the south Londoners won the penalty shootout to secure promotion to the Premier League.

Twenty-one years on, the prize at stake may be slightly less glamorous, but Cullen and his teammates will not be taking the Black Cats lightly.

Sunderland edged the regular season fixtures, winning 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on the opening day and drawing 1-1 at The Valley in January – although the Irishman was not involved in either match – and the Academy of Football graduate is expecting a similarly close-fought battle at Wembley.

“They’re good players and they’ve had great careers and it’s going to be a tough test,” he said, relishing his potential midfield showdown with the experienced and combative Lee Cattermole. “We know they’re a good side all over the pitch so it’s going to be a test.

“Sunderland have got the quality to be able to beat us, as they showed on the opening day of the season, so I’d expect to be a tight game, but I expect us to be read to perform.

“They’ve done fantastic to get to the final, but when it comes we will be more than ready.”