Miserly Brackley Town all set for showdown with Fylde

Action from Brackley Town's 1-0 win at Gloucester City last weekend. Picture by Glenn AlcockAction from Brackley Town's 1-0 win at Gloucester City last weekend. Picture by Glenn Alcock
Action from Brackley Town's 1-0 win at Gloucester City last weekend. Picture by Glenn Alcock
It's a big game at the top of the National League North table at St James Park this weekend

One of the meanest defences in the top six tiers of English football will be hoping for another good day at the office as Brackley Town get set for a huge game at St James Park this weekend.

The Saints secured an incredible 16th clean sheet in the Vanarama National League North last Saturday - the highest number of clean sheets kept by any club in the top six tiers in the country this season - as Wes York’s goal sealed a 1-0 success at Gloucester City and sent them back to the top of the table.

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That was, in part, thanks to AFC Fylde claiming an impressive 3-0 win at second-placed Gateshead.

However, Gateshead responded well to that loss and move back to the summit on goal difference from Brackley after they saw off Blyth Spartans 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Fourth-placed Fylde are the visitors to Brackley this weekend with seven points separating the two teams, although Fylde still have a game in hand.

It’s a huge match and Kevin Wilkin knows that superb defensive record has been key to his table-topping team’s success so far.

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“It’s a good record to have and if we are going to be successful we need to try to sustain it between now and the end of the season,” the Saints manager said.

“It’s a great credit to the boys. They work really hard to keep clean sheets and give us a chance in games and hopefully they will continue to do so.

“This game at the weekend is exactly what we are in it for.

“Again, it’s credit to the lads because they have created this by being as consistent as they have been to this point and it has really set up a massive game for both clubs.

“We are under no illusions. Fylde are right there and they have had a fantastic result at Gateshead, not many people get the better of them.

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“They will be confident but we are confident in our ability and if we play to the level we are capable of then hopefully we will make it an interesting game.”

Wilkin is hopeful the injury crisis that has struck his team in recent weeks is starting to ease, especially with no midweek action on Tuesday night.

Brackley added another body to their squad ahead of last weekend with centre-half Max Dyche joining on a month’s loan from Northampton Town.

And he played an impressive role in another fine defensive display at Gloucester.

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“It’s eased slightly and we are hopefully working towards having the majority back,” Wilkin said when asked for an update on the injuries.

“We have had a free week so the physio will have had time to work with the lads and hopefully they will be slightly further forward and we can take stock of what we have got at the weekend.

“We were able to bring Max in and he has had a really good debut for us.

“We played him on the left of a three to start with, then we moved to a back four and played him effectively as a left-back, which isn’t something he’s accustomed to.

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“But, being the professional person that he is, he just got on with the job and didn’t make any gripes about it. He was ably supported with Glenn Walker in front of him and the pair of them did really well in the second half.

“Max has played a part in a great start in a great win and hopefully he can build on that moving forward.”