The Buildbase FA Trophy holds special memories for Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin.
He took Wrexham to the final at Wembley before landing the job at St James Park and Wilkin will be looking for Saints to cause an upset in Saturday’s third qualifying round tie with Vanarama National League North leaders Salford City.
I’m sure Salford will be looking at the tie as a real opportunity and that’s my view on the competitionSaints manager Kevin Wilkin
The full-timers have a healthy advantage and are nine points clear of third-placed Saints. But Wilkin’s side got to the quarter-finals last season before narrowly losing out at eventual winners York City and he will be keen to use Saturday’s tie at St James Park an indicator as to how far his side has come in recent weeks.
Wilkin said: “I’m sure Salford will be looking at the tie as a real opportunity and that’s my view on the competition. I’ve been fortunate to get to the final of this competition at Wembley.
“We got to the last eight last season and were unfortunate to go out at the eventual winners, we deserved at least a draw there.
“Salford beat us up there earlier this season, they’re full-time and have got some quality players. But we’ve shown we can beat top teams and it’s a game I’m looking forward to.”
Adam Walker remains sidelined through injury but, otherwise, Wilkin will have a full squad to choose from.
Looking back on Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Bardford Park Avenue, which ended Saints’ five-match winning run, Wilkin said: “We never really got going, it was a disappointing afternoon and we can have no complaints.
“We have been on a very good run but we have to look at ourselves because we didn’t really put in crosses that threatened or have a single shot on target.”