GERRY Taggart enjoyed his spells at both Barnsley and Bolton Wanderers but is hoping it is the Reds who progress through the League One play-off semi-final.
The former centre-back, now a club ambassador for Leicester City, has been keeping at eye on both clubs this season.
“It’s probably the toughest game to call of all the play-offs this season,” Taggart told the Chronicle.
“I am a bit worried that Barnsley seem to have lost a bit of form in the last few weeks. But you never know in the play-offs – there is a lot of pressure and anything can happen.
“I really want Barnsley to win the play-offs. The ideal final would be if they beat Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley.”
Taggart joined Barnsley from Manchester City in 1990 and played more than 200 games, becoming a fans’ favourite.
“It was a great time for me and the club is very very close to my heart. I had a drink this week with Wayne Biggins and we were reminiscing on our time at Barnsley. It was a great springboard for my career.”
Taggart then moved from the Reds to Bolton in 1995, experiencing two relegations from the Premier League and a Division One title win before moving to Leicester City.
“Bolton is another really good club. It was just unfortunate we got relegated twice. At that stage I was coming into my prime and the time was right to stay in the Premier League with Leicester.”
Taggart never played in the play-offs, but thought he had reached them with Barnsley in 1991 – before news of a late goal for Brighton interrupted a pitch invasion.
“We were popping champagne on the balcony then heard that Brighton had scored in the seventh minute of injury-time. It is embarrassing to look back on. It was an anti-climax to say the least.”
Taggart’s international career with Northern Ireland was finishing in 2002 just as Reds boss Michael Duff was receiving his first call-up.
“I don’t know Michael but I have always been aware of him because he’s Northern Irish. He’s done a great job at Barnsley and it will be a great achievement if he takes them up.”