Forget awards Paul Heckingbottom would much rather have Wembley reward for uncomplaining work at Sheffield United
And if anyone deserves a reward for his work this season, it is Heckingbottom, bafflingly overlooked by the Football League’s shortlist for Sunday's end-of-season Championship manager of the year award, but never under-appreciated on the Bramall Lane terraces.
The chance to go toe to toe with Manchester City at the greatest football arena on the planet is the sort of prize proper football people like Heckingbottom relish. There is even the faintest of faint chances of the club's first FA Cup final since 1936.
In truth, though, it is so unlikely they need to make the most of this day. They surely will, knowing what has gone into it.
Those who follow the Blades understand the job the unflappable, down-to-earth man from Barnsley has uncomplainingly got on with since he was brought in to rescue them from a messy start to last season.
Then he took the team from uncomfortably close to the Championship relegation zone to a lost penalty shoot-out from the play-off final.
The hangover from that, not to mention incidents after the match which saw Billy Sharp requiring stitches and Oli McBurnie in a courtroom to successfully defend himself against an assault charge, could have been hard to shift.
Defeats at Watford and West Bromwich Albion followed in the first three matches of this season but seven of the opening 11 were won as the players rose to Heckingbottom's challenge to set the pace this time, not play catch-up.
Below the surface, though, things were far from serene. A proposed takeover collapsed last summer and Anel Ahmedhodizc remains the only paid-for permanent signing of Heckingbottom’s tenure. A transfer embargo was imposed in January – and only lifted on Thursday – causing a promotion-pushing squad to be weakened by Reda Khadra's departure.
Now there is another takeover in the pipeline, but it has been for a disconcertingly long time.
At least the board kept their promise to Heckingbottom that prize assets Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge would not be sold mid-season.
The reward everyone wants will hopefully come at Bramall Lane on Wednesday, where victory over West Brom will secure promotion back to the Premier League, but Saturday's day out at Wembley will be a much less tense payback.
Nothing is really riding on it for them. City have been built to win trophies and although they still have chances in the Premier League and European Cup, they do not have any in the cabinet yet this season.
The Blades have been constructed purely with promotion in mind and if it does not come on Wednesday, there will be three further chances to get the job done.
It has been a memorable cup run, with two epic televised games against Phil Parkinson's Wrexham and victory over a Tottenham Hotpsur team who really needed a reason to finally buy some more silver polish. The quarter-final at home to Blackburn Rovers matched both Wrexham games for late drama.
"We deserve the Wembley game, the semi-final against one of the best teams in the world for all the hard work, for all them moments when it looked like we were going out or the tough draws we've got through and when we've been behind and won," reflected Heckingbottom.
It will be a reward too for some of the old-stagers who have defined the 21st Century Blades.
Oliver Norwood lost his previously-cemented role as midfield conductor in recent weeks but the only positive about Manchester City loanees Tommy Doyle and James McAtee being unable to play is that he will surely get the FA Cup semi-final appearance he missed in 2015. John Fleck is set to be McAtee's deputy.
If Ahmedhodzic's first child makes an overdue appearance to take him away, Chris Basham’s loyal service will be rewarded. If not, he will probably be on the bench alongside Billy Sharp, likely to grace the turf at some point.
But the reward is not just for the high-profile stars of the run, but players like Rhys Norrington-Davies, Rhian Brewster and Jack O'Connell kept out of it by injury and figures whose backroom roles are only appreciated or in some cases known by the most hands-on.
"Them getting to Wembley is important rather than just sitting with a ticket in the stand," commented Heckingbottom. "They're part of the group so they'll be sat in the stand behind the bench. It's a reward.
"We're in a semi-final against a top team and it's important people are down there – the boys who are injured but played a part in it or not, the staff who've played a part in what we've done but not been involved on matchdays."
And of course it will be reward for fans unable to stop the high point of Chris Wilder's tenure sliding into a disappointing Premier League relegation when Covid-19 shut the gates.
Wembley was built for days like this.