Brackley Town will take nothing for granted in huge FA Cup clash

The Saints take on lower-ranked opponents in the first round proper
Brackley Town manager Kevin WilkinBrackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin
Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin

Kevin Wilkin believes a quick glance into the not-so-distant past should be enough to convince his Brackley Town players to take nothing for granted in the first round proper of the Emirates FA Cup this weekend.

The Saints take on Isthmian League Premier Division side Bishop’s Stortford at St James Park tomorrow (Saturday) as they bid to make further progress in the famous competition.

Brackley will be the favourites to see off lower-ranked opposition.

But Wilkin knows that will count for little, especially having been on the end of an upset in the competition two years ago when his team were beaten 3-2 by Marine in the third qualifying round.

Nonetheless, it’s clear that Brackley have a big opportunity to move one step closer to the holy grail of the third round.

“That’s the way we have to look at it but I am sure Bishop’s Stortford will be the same,” boss Wilkin said.

“It’s the beauty of the FA Cup. Whether you are playing as the favourite or the underdog, you always know things can go either way in this competition.

“We are at home against lower level opposition so, of course, we will be made the favourites.

“But we always do our homework on our opponents and we are taking nothing for granted.

“We were in the position not so long ago when we played Marine and we should have come through that game but didn’t.

“That should serve as a good reminder that it’s all about what happens on the day and who turns up.”

Brackley haven’t played since thrashing Marske United 5-1 in the fourth qualifying round two weeks ago after their Vanarama National League North clash at Guiseley was postponed last weekend due to Covid-19 concerns within the Guiseley camp.

And while the Saints’ campaign has had a stop-start feel to it, the break might not have been a bad thing after they were hit by some early-season injuries.

Captain Gaz Dean and goalkeeper Danny Lewis both missed the win over Marske while Glenn Walker is yet to feature this season.

And Wilkin added: “The hope is that we are somewhere close to full strength by Saturday.

“We have had a bit of time to get everyone fit and available and we are hopeful we will be close to that, subject to everyone coming through training of course.

“This is one bit of good that has come out of not having a game in the last couple of weeks.

“We have been able to get work and treatment into those players and we are really optimistic that most of them will be nearing full fitness for Saturday.”