Kevin McNaughton says Cardiff City must draw on the bitter experience of play-off failures to fire them into the Premier League.
They face Reading over two legs with memories of last season's 3-2 play-off final defeat by Blackpool still rankling.
"There's no point in having that experience last season and not taking anything from it," said the defender.
In 2008-09, the Bluebirds missed the play-offs because of goal difference.
The Scotsman admits he is desperate to enjoy a good summer on the back of promotion to the Premier League.
But Cardiff must first overcome Reading on Friday, 13 May and Tuesday, 17 May to earn a place at Wembley on Monday, 30 May in the play-off final.
That would pit them against the winners of the Swansea City-Nottingham Forest clashes in the other semi-final play-off.
McNaughton said: "There's no point in having that experience last season and not taking anything from it.
"So yes, there are a few more experienced heads in this changing room now getting used to these sorts of games and hopefully that'll stand us in good stead for the games.
"We set out at the start of the season for that [automatic promotion], but if you go up through the play-offs, I think that's a better way to go, seemingly.
"I'd love to do it myself to be honest with you, but it would be great if we could do it.
"We could do with a lift at the end of the season. We've had a lot of disappointments at the end of the season, so I'm just desperate for us to get an enjoyable summer for a change.
"I think we're a better than we were last season. I think we almost over-achieved a wee-bit last season.
"I think the boys did brilliant, really; obviously disappointed because we were playing Blackpool and if you'd asked us at the start of the [2009-10] season if we had the chance to play Blackpool to get in the Premier League, we'd have bitten your hand off.
"But they were playing really well and they've shown, actually, in the Premier League they're a good team as well.
"So we just need to take all the experience that we took from last season and take it into the play-offs now.
"I think it's the experience of being there and losing - I think we've got to try and learn form it."