David Raya is 90 minutes away from achieving his dream, and the aim he set himself when moving to England as a 16-year-old: playing in the Premier League.

Raya will be between the sticks for Brentford in tonight’s play-off final against Fulham, knowing a first taste of top-flight football within his grasp.

While that might have felt a long way away during his loan spell in the Conference with Southport in 2014/15, Raya still hangs on the experiences learn during his 19-game stay.

His incredible FA Cup display against Derby County in January 2015 was his first moment in the sun, and within three months he was making his Rovers debut at Elland Road in the Championship.

And still five years on, with the biggest game of his career ahead of him, the 24-year-old still looks back on that spell with the Sandgrounders with great fondness.

“I have Southport in my heart, I thank them for everything they did for me. It made me the player I am,” he said.

“I was there for three or four months and it was an unbelievable experience. It made me realise how important it was to play in those leagues because they are fighting for their lives, the salaries and families.

“Southport made me mature quickly because the guys were playing for the next mortgage instalment.

“That’s when you realise it’s not just football, it’s your job and if you don’t do your job it costs you. I was 19 at the time and I’m lucky to have had that experience.

“When something good happens in your job - whether you’re a footballer or work in an office - you appreciate all the hard work you’ve put in.”

A further 160 appearances since his Southport spell, 108 coming for Rovers, have seen him develop in to one of the Championship’s most promising stoppers, walking away with the Golden Glove award after keeping 16 clean sheets this season.

That is the backbone on which Brentford have added steel to their style, and despite the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion after defeats in their final two matches of the regular season, the play-offs can offer them redemption.

Raya was 16 when he moved to East Lancashire from the Catalan area of Spain, and detailing his journey since, his drive and desire has remained, despite the difficulties faced.

“When I came to England, my aim was to be in the Premier League,” he added.

“You never know if it’ll happen but being one game away from that dream having been a 16-year-old kid coming to a new country and not knowing the culture or the language, everything has paid off.

“I came on trial for four days in Easter 2011 when I was 15 but I couldn’t move to England even if Blackburn wanted to sign me. I came again in the October for two weeks and then a week later they called to say they wanted me so I joined in the January.

“Blackburn was different. Moving on my own was difficult but it was harder for my mum and my dad to let their son of 16 go to another country on his own.

“There were good days and bad days but there was never a question of me going back to Spain.

“At the time, Blackburn got relegated to the Championship but I was singled minded to know what I wanted and I wasn’t going to give up until I got it.

“When I get it, I’ll know I want more and hopefully from Tuesday I can be a Premier League player.”

Brentford said goodbye to their Griffin Park home after 116 years, a 3-1 victory over Swansea City seeing them overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to book their place at Wembley.

A new 17,000 all-seater stadium awaits them next season, and Raya admits: “The club is set up for the Premier League.

“Sometimes it doesn’t happen, we don’t know what will happen on Tuesday but we will give everything.

“When I came here I was shocked by the place, how well the club is run, the atmosphere, staff, players. We know what we want to achieve.”

Their task isn’t an easy one, coming up against a Fulham side who finished the regular season strong to end level on points with Brentford, albeit a place further back owing to an inferior goal difference.

Scott Parker will be desperately hoping top scorer Aleksandr Mitrovic will be fit enough to start, having missed both legs of their semi-final, as they bid to make a return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

So will Raya be calling on any good luck charms, or rituals, ahead of the Wembley final.

“No, but I always wear the same boxer shorts. I do wash them,” he joked. “They are always clean.

“It’s something I’ve done for years. It’s a habit and that keeps you focused. I also always get dressed from the right, even the tape on my hands goes on my right hand first.

“I use those habits to concentrate on what I’m doing. They’re not lucky boxers - they’re just comfortable.”

Rovers will have one eye on the final, with the £3m move that took Raya to Brentford last summer including a promotion bonus, of which they would be due should the Bees reach the top flight.