Can Saints make it third time lucky under Wilkin?

Can Kevin Wilkin make it third time lucky for Brackley Town?
Can Kevin Wilkin make it third time lucky for Brackley Town?

Will this prove to be third time lucky for Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin?

Saints have reached the knockout stages of Vanarama National League North but just missed out each time in the past two seasons.

Wilkin’s side kick-off the new campaign against Alfreton Town at St James Park on Saturday before making the short trip to Leamington three days later.

Under Wilkin, Saints reached the play-off final in 2018, losing to Harrogate Town, and last season came up short in their semi-final against Spennymoor Town, going out in a penalty shoot-out.

Following that setback, Wilkin had feared he may lose some of his best players but that didn’t materialise with only midfielder Adam Walker and central defender Connor Hall leaving the club. Wilkin was able to persuade the rest of his squad to give it another season while bringing some experience at both ends of the pitch.

Despite not yet gaining promotion, Wilkin has guided Saints to a Buildbase FA Trophy triumph at Wembley in 2018 and they also reached the last eight last season. But it’s promotion which remains the aim once again and Saints are sure to be among the front-runners again.

Wilkin has strengthened his defence with the acquisition of former Northampton Town skipper Kelvin Langmead from Harrogate Town and also brought in Thierry Audel from Welling United.

Audel has previously played for Auxerre, Pisa and Notts County. Both central defenders are dangerous at set-pieces and will no doubt come up with their fair share of goals.

Up front, Wilkin has signed former Cheltenham Town and Wrexham striker Dan Holman from Kettering Town. Wilkin has also signed prolific striker Tendai Daire from Lutterworth Town.

Off the field, the club is having to cope with the fire which destroyed the clubhouse but that will not be allowed to detract from another good season on it.