AS someone who looks like he is having the time of his life while sitting in the directors’ box on a wet Tuesday night at York City, you can imagine how much Darryl Eales is looking forward to Wembley.

“Various people have asked what will I be doing on Sunday morning,” he says, with a broad grin.

“I suspect I’ll be up at 7am just walking around Wembley.

“Life is about experiences and this is one you can’t ever replicate.

“I think from an owner’s perspective it’s like all your Christmases coming at once.”

The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy is much maligned in some quarters.

Any competition which has rules designed to ensure you play a minimum of half your strongest team has an issue.

Were it not for the fact United were handed a bye – another indication this is not an especially prestigious competition – before being drawn with bitter rivals Swindon Town, no-one would have batted an eyelid about an early exit.

But all along Eales has been a big supporter, telling anyone who listened their cynicism would vanish if Michael Appleton’s side got a day out at Wembley.

He said: “I’m fascinated by the psychology that nobody takes the JPT seriously, because it’s the best chance any League One or League Two side have to get to Wembley.

“Park the fact the league is the priority, which it is without question, but it’s not an ‘either or’ situation.

“You take opportunities when they come.

“As an owner, for Michael as a manager and a lot of the players, this might be the only time in their careers they get to play at Wembley.

“It’s a fantastic, uplifting experience and let’s make the most of it.

“For me, it’s a dream come true.”

Win or lose, Eales has organised a post-match reception to say thank you to everyone who has played their part in the season so far.

It is in contrast to the area final success over Millwall in February, when the superstitious U’s chairman refused to look ahead.

“That is true, I just said ‘we are not booking anything’,” he said.

“There was a meeting at Wembley before the second leg to talk about ticketing for the final and I couldn’t understand it.

“When (club secretary) Mick Brown and the rest came back from the meeting I said I wasn’t going to get involved until I knew we were there.

“The only thing I did (on the night of the Millwall second leg) was arrange with the stadium to keep the bar open, but I suspect if we had lost we would have still stayed here.”

There will be some in the sea of yellow on Sunday biting their nails over how this game will impact on United’s chances of promotion – the club’s overwhelming goal.

Players in the 1986 Milk Cup final felt their victory produced a shot of confidence which ensured they avoided relegation from Division 1, while a defeat to QPR could have easily sealed their league fate.

Could Sunday have a similarly decisive impact on United’s run-in?

Eales said: “I think if we play well it won’t affect us.

“If we lose 6-0 that’s probably not going to be helpful in the context.

“But I do think the professionalism and the culture which surrounds the coaching and playing side is about maintaining performance levels.

“We have such a committed group of players I don’t think it will make any difference, win or lose.

“They will have a fantastic day out, but the reality is the main event this season is trying to get promoted.”