Wilkin knows holders will face tough test at Spireites

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin knows holders face a tough test at Chesterfield
Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin knows holders face a tough test at Chesterfield

The holders take the next step on the road to defending the Buildbase FA Trophy and it is going to be a big one.

Brackley Town head to Chesterfield for Saturday’s third round tie in good form but manager Kevin Wilkin knows it will be a stiff challenge at the former Football League club.

They’ve got some big name players but we’ve also got some good players who showed what they could do in the FA Trophy last season by winning it

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

Recently-appointed manager John Sheridan is starting to put his stamp on the Spireites who remain in the lower reaches of the Vanarama National League despite an upturn in their recent form and three consecutive clean sheets. The experienced Curtis Weston and former West Bromwich Albion striker Marc-Antoine Fortuné are just two of Chesterfield’s big name players.

But Saints are on a good run and are unbeaten in seven Vanarama National League North outings. As holders, they have proved what it takes to get to Wembley and win the competition.

Wilkin knows his side will be up against a team from the next level up but Saints overcame that last season and he said: “Chesterfield are still a massive club for us to go to but if we play to our level we can get something out of the game as we proved last season in the competition. They’ve got some big name players but we’ve also got some good players who showed what they could do in the FA Trophy last season by winning it.

“It’s a nice set-up at Chesterfield, I played at Saltergate, but I’ve not been to the present ground. John Sheridan is a good manager, he’s done well there before, and you feel he can get them back to where they want to be.

“He’s already started to turn it around there and that will have given them more belief. They’ve got some very good players and it will be a mighty tough game for us.

“We’ve shown an improvement in keeping clean sheets ourselves but we need to be able to do that over a period of time.”

Recent recruit Carl Baker is cup-tied for Saints, while Connor Hall and Connor Franklin are still on the sidelines. But another new arrival Omari Sterling-James is available.

Wilkin said: “We’ve not got a big squad despite the recent additions with our long-term injuries but we’ve just got to get on with it. Carl [Baker] has started very well since and someone I’ve been after for a long time so it’s a blow he can’t play on Saturday.

“Some new players have come in, some on loans, but we have worked hard. We have players in the side who the young players can learn from and it will stand them in good stead when they eventually go back to their clubs.”