Former Leeds United loan duo now final rivals

A LITTLE over five years on from joining a faltering Leeds United together, Barry Bannan and Jake Livermore will walk out side by side at Wembley.

Hull City's Jake Livermore.

A return ticket to the Premier League will be the prize at stake for the pair and Bannan, an integral figure in Sheffield Wednesday’s season, admits he is relishing the chance to go head-to-head with his old friend.

“Jake is one of those I am looking forward to kicking at Wembley,” joked the Scot, who, like Livermore, joined Leeds on loan as Simon Grayson’s side were losing their way in the hunt for a Championship play-off place in the Spring of 2011.

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“We both stayed in the same place after joining Leeds on loan. We were only there for a bit and neither of us played much. It was a bit strange. But Jake was a good lad and has gone on to have an unbelievable career from there. He has been capped for England. He has had a very good season.”

Bannan’s stint at Elland Road was one of three loans he had away from Aston Villa early in his career and he is in little doubt as to their value.

“Some of them were good, some were bad but they all helped my game,” he added.

“Blackpool was good, obviously, because we won promotion. I also made the Scotland team and the following year I was back at Villa and playing in the first team.

“I was younger at Derby. I didn’t really play and we were fighting relegation. But I saw what men’s football was all about because, up to then, I had been playing Academy and reserve team football.

“All of them helped me and I have tried to take little bits to use to my advantage.”