Two years ago Private Dave Tatlock was told he would never walk again, but on Sunday the 20-year-old will march out onto the Wembley turf in front of 90,000 fans to place the Carling Cup on its plinth in the lead up to kick-off.

Victim of a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in July 2008, doctors broke the news to Private Tatlock that the shrapnel in his spine - embedded as a result of the 30mm high explosive rounds from an Apache Helicopter that missed the intended target - had left him paralysed.

But four weeks into the recovery, feeling slowly spread back into his legs and after 12 weeks confined to a bed to soak away the swelling, Tatlock progressed on to Headley Court, the defence centre for military rehabilitation in Surrey. He now walks with just a stick and hopes an impending operation will leave him wholly independent.

On Sunday, in continuation of the partnership between Help for Heroes and The Football League, the Manchester United season-ticket holder will mark the next step of his remarkable recovery in front of a full-house at the home of football by placing the Carling Cup in its ceremonial pre-match position as the side he supports square up to Aston Villa ahead of the Carling Cup Final.

"This is a big thing for me," said Tatlock. "Who would have thought that two years ago when I was sat in that bed that I would be carrying the trophy out at Wembley. It shows what British soldiers can do.

"Every day I think about what I have achieved - I was told within 40 minutes of my injury that I wouldn't walk again but I wanted to show them. The doctors told me I wouldn't walk again, even my mum had accepted the fact that I wouldn't be getting out of that bed.

"Right from the beginning of training in the Paras they teach you to be mentally tough and fill you will pride. The Army teaches you to be strong, plus I am very stubborn and that is a big part of it."

Having momentarily lost consciousness whilst on the stretcher, Tatlock - unlike many undergoing rehabilitation in Headley Court - has vivid memories of the day his and his comrades' lives changed forever.

Miraculously there were no fatalities, but the incident is still fresh in his mind and it is here - mentally as well as physically - that the centre in Surrey has proved vital in helping rekindle the famous gritted toughness synonymous with the British Army.

"That day is etched in my mind. I remember the explosion and falling over and not being able to move. I could hear my injured mates shouting around me. Then a mate - a huge Welsh guy - came over and picked me out of the ditch I was in and despite all of our gear carried me out.

"I owe a lot to Headley Court. They beasted me back to walking again. Everyone says how good it is but you have to be there to experience it - they get you back into the army attitude and before you realise, you are doing things you never thought you'd do.

"It helps put your life back together, puts you in a good mood and builds you up."

Despite accepting the big job on Sunday when his judgement was slightly clouded, the physical milestone of doing what so many told he'd never achieve on the pitch, at Wembley, and to then watch his team battle it out for Carling Cup glory was is just the latest chapter in a young but extraordinary life.

"I was a bit drunk when they asked me to do this and obviously I said yes. But then when I sat down and thought about what happens if I fall over in front of all of my mates - they will never let me live it down.

"But I am really looking forward to it - it is a big achievement. I just hope United can do it for me on the day."

A video about Headley Court showing the difference the money rasied by Help for Heroes helps to make will also be shown on the giant screen at Wembley before kick-off.

Help for Heroes has been selected as the official charity partner of The Football League for the duration of the 2009/10 season click here for more information

Click here to donate now via The Football League's dedicated Help for Heroes donation page