Brad Lyons was a Northern Irish university student, working part-time as a lifeguard and a mainstay in the Coleraine FC midfield with a dream of running out at Wembley when Rovers offered him a trial in 2018.

Today, he will get to achieve that aim, in the colours of Morecambe, aiming to help the Shrimps to an historic promotion and a place in League One when they face Newport County at the national stadium.

Yet this isn’t quite a fairytale story, Lyons’ time with Rovers will come to an end next month, but at 24, with three years of professional football under his belt, an attitude to succeed and a willingness to learn, Lyons is hoping to write many more chapters in his footballing story.

Indeed, as Lyons himself points out, making himself a Wembley play-off final hero live on Sky Sports, and putting himself into Morecambe folklore at the same time, wouldn’t be the worst shop window.

“When you’re growing up and playing on a Saturday morning and stuff, these are the days that you’re dreaming of,” Lyons explained to the Lancashire Telegraph.

“When you’re watching back home the FA Cup final, the play-offs, even the Champions League final at Wembley, there are so many unbelievable, world class, players who have graced the Wembley pitch and hopefully I can get that experience as well. It’s a dream come true and everything you work for.”

With fans able to attend the League Two showpiece, Lyons’ parents and two brothers, as well as three friends, will make the journey over to hopefully see him in action.

The midfielder has started five times, and made a further nine substitute appearances, including in both the semi-finals, since making the January switch to Morecambe after a spell on the bench for the Rovers first-team, and continuing to impress at Under-23s level.

A debut in the FA Cup away at Chelsea soon followed, his spell ending with a Wembley final.

“When I joined Morecambe I didn’t think it’d happen, but when I started my football career I dreamt of days like that and now it’s happening, it’s unbelievable,” he added.

“It was an amazing experience playing at Stamford Bridge against a Premier League team, particularly with the team that Chelsea put out, it was a great great experience for every one of the boys.  We adapted well, we played well on the day, obviously the result didn’t go our way.

“I’ve never been to Wembley so that’s going to be an unbelievable experience but hopefully the result makes it even better.”

Lyons, an energetic midfielder with an eye for a goal, said he never lost hope of one day becoming a professional footballer when playing part-time for Coleraine alongside his studies.

He made over 100 appearances for the Bannsiders and impressed enough to earn a trial with Rovers Under-23s, then managed by former Northern Ireland international Damien Johnson, before a permanent contract followed.

A half season loan at St Mirren in 2019 offered Lyons a taste of professional football north of the border, and that could well be an option when his time with Rovers comes to an end, one he feels has put him in a position to make a career in the game.

He added: “All the time in Northern Ireland with Coleraine it was all about building and trying to get that full time contract to become a professional footballer. That never drifted away.

“I was very happy at Coleraine in the Irish league developing each year but I was always striving to get into England or Scotland and full time football and become a professional footballer. Thankfully Rovers gave me that opportunity.

“They brought me in three years ago and I’m thankful that they did because they gave me that opportunity to become a professional footballer, develop me as a player and thankfully I kicked on and I have all of these experience in football.

“It’s crazy that it’s been three years but Rovers helped and developed me as a player and a person, obviously moving across the water moving into my own apartment it’s developed me outside of football as well.

“They have pushed me on and made me the best player I can be and hopefully I can push on and establish a great career in the English league or Scotland and have a career for myself.”

Lyons credits his time at St Mirren, working under his former Coleraine boss Oran Kearney, as a big stage of his development, matches against the Old Firm sides and a relegation play-off decider with Dundee United giving him a sense of the big occasion.

His move to Rovers meant he never did finish his university course, but he’s currently in talks with the PFA over completing his final year, his studying and part-time past making him even more appreciative of life in full time football.

“When I started off my time at Coleraine I was going to Tech and doing a diploma in sports and exercise science.

“I went on to university and was doing sports theory and practice and on the side of university I was also a lifeguard.

“I was playing for Coleraine, going to uni and being a lifeguard part-time as well at Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney so I was a full packed lifestyle but I had to make money outside of Coleraine somehow.”

Lyons will now hope to make a splash on the football front in this afternoon’s game.

“I think I’ll settle for this lifestyle and full-time football. I’m doing what I love every day so I wouldn’t even call it work, it’s a pleasure to be in the training ground and playing football every day,” Lyons said.

“Those experiences back home have made this experience of full-time football even better and makes me even more privileged to be a full-time footballer because I know what it’s like to work, go to uni and those stresses.

“I’m taking everything as it comes and it’s really good.”