Brackley boss Wilkin hoping for some play-off fortune

Brackley Town are gearing up for a huge weekend as they return for the National League North play-offs

By Jon Dunham
Friday, 17th July 2020, 8:00 am
Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin and his players will begin their play-off bid this weekend
Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin and his players will begin their play-off bid this weekend

Kevin Wilkin is hoping fortune will favour the brave when Brackley Town get their promotion bid under way on Sunday.

It’s all on the line for the Saints at St James Park (4pm kick-off) as they take on Gateshead in the National League North play-off eliminator.

The match will be played behind closed doors and if the scores are level after 90 minutes, it will go straight to penalties to decide who travels to Boston United in the semi-finals on July 25.

While the circumstances might be completely different, it is the third season in a row that Wilkin’s team will have competed in the play-offs.

They were beaten by Harrogate Town in the final in 2018, the same season Brackley won the FA Trophy, and they were on the wrong end of penalty heartbreak last year when they were edged out by Spennymoor Town in the semi-finals.

Wilkin firmly believes his team have what it takes to advance but he admits a bit of luck wouldn’t go amiss.

“You need that bit of fortune on the day,” the Saints boss said.

“We played Spennymoor last year and ended up losing on penalties, which was disappointing.

“So you do need that bit of fortune but first and foremost you have to turn up.

“And if we turn up and give a good account of ourselves and play to the level we are capable of, then we believe we give ourselves a tremendous chance.

“But I have seen Gateshead play, they beat us earlier in the season and they have their style of play. They play a lot on the counter.

“You need all these bits and pieces to come together. It’s a one-off. It’s 90 minutes and then penalties which, if I am being honest, is a bit of a concern. You want as much pitch time as possible to resolve anything.

“But it is what it is and we have to get on with it and we have to try to find a way without the lottery of penalties.”

Brackley managed to get some match action in with a friendly against National League South play-off hopefuls Slough Town last weekend.

Jimmy Armson and Simeon Maye were the only players not to feature but Wilkin is hopeful of having a full squad to choose from on Sunday.

“We had a couple who were injured who didn’t take part,” he added.

“Jimmy Armson has got a bit of an issue with his calf, a bit of tendonitis, which he should get over and Simeon Maye was the other one but we are hopeful he will be involved in the session tomorrow (Friday) so he can be ready.”