Brackley's play-off preparations to get under way

Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin is now preparing for the National League North play-offsBrackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin is now preparing for the National League North play-offs
Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin is now preparing for the National League North play-offs
Kevin Wilkin's squad and staff will be tested today (Thursday) ahead of a return to training at the weekend

The pursuit of play-off glory is set to get under way for Brackley Town this week.

National League clubs voting in favour of the ordinary resolution has opened up the opportunity for the North and South division play-offs to be played next month.

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It’s an opportunity that boss Kevin Wilkin thought had slipped away but now he and his players are ready to return to prepare for their promotion bid.

With the final National League North table being decided on a points per game ratio, the Saints finished in fourth place which means they will now host Gateshead at St James Park with the winners going on to a semi-final at Boston United, who finished third.

It is understood that the first play-off matches could be played over the weekend of July 18 and 19, provided all the necessary criteria for testing of players is put in place.

The Covid-19 crisis means matches will be played behind closed doors but the Brackley squad are set to be tested for the first time today (Thursday) before resuming training with the appropriate safety measures in place on Saturday.

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And, despite a hectic time, boss Wilkin is relishing the challenge as he bids to take his team up to the top flight of non-League football.

“We are just trying to pull everything together because, of course, there is certain criteria that we have got to put into place,” the Brackley manager said.

“It’s nice in a lot of ways. It’s something to gear towards and I enjoy the planning and preparing side of things and hopefully we can have a successful play-off campaign.

“They will be testing everybody today and, subject to those tests being negative, we are planning to get back in on Saturday and we will be tested weekly thereafter, which is the protocol we are following.

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“And then we will be resuming a Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday training regime until we play the game.

“It’s been topsy-turvy. One minute we thought there was a chance and the next we were being told there was absolutely no chance the play-offs were going to happen.

“But then, pretty much within 24 to 48 hours, it turned itself on its head again and we are now told that if we can meet the necessary criteria then we can go and do it.

“For us, it’s just fantastic that the boys were there or thereabouts again and mixing it with some big clubs.

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“We are not the big club like those we are involved in the play-offs with like Boston, York, Chester and Altrincham.

“It’s fantastic for everyone at the club and hopefully we can be successful.

“You only get one shot at it and it’s an interesting scenario that we wouldn’t normally face.

“I know the majority of the boys will have lived right in the last few weeks and they will have done the right things to condition themselves. As long as that is the case, then we can be competitive.

“And if we pick up from where we left off, then we will have as much chance of being successful as anyone else.”