Wilkin wary of pacesetters as holders look to progress

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin
Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin

Brackley Town take the next step on the way to defending their Buildbase FA Trophy crown on Saturday.

The holders entertain Hayes & Yeading United in Saturday’s first round tie but go into the game on the back of successive Vanarama National League defeats.

It’s an opportunity for us to get these two defeats out of the system

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

It is not the ideal preparation for Kevin Wilkin’s side but they will start as favourites against the Bostik League outfit.

Because of their FA Trophy run, United have slipped down to third in the south central division but have three games in hand on the leaders. They have already knocked Banbury United out of the competition and showed enough in last month’s tie that they are a confident side.

New signing Jack Finch is unavailable, having played in the competition for the Puritans.

Wilkin said: “I want to win every game and the FA Trophy tie is just another one.

“But we need to get a good result and performance to take into the busy Christmas schedule. It’s an opportunity for us to get these two defeats out of the system.

“Had we picked up the three points from the previous games, then the last two defeats would not be so crucial.

“It’s not something we’ve been used to and I don’t want to get too comfortable with losing games. We need to understand why we’ve been so competitive over the past couple of seasons and try to get back to that.

“I’m sure we’ll go into the tie as favourites but I’m certainly not going to be underestimating Hayes. They’re having a strong campaign and have come through a few rounds already.”

Wilkin is still looking to add to his squad and added: “We’ve operated with only 15 or 16 players in the squad and up until the last couple of weeks we’ve been okay. We haven’t got the points on the board that the performances have merited and that’s why we’re down where we are.”

Jimmy Armson looks set to miss Saturday’s tie with the thigh injury which ruled him out of the last two games. Armson has been a key player for Saints and Wilkin will be hoping he can return for the busy festive period.

Wilkin added: “When you lose a player like Jimmy Armson you are always going to miss them, especially in the games against the top sides. You need to have your best players out on the pitch.

“Jimmy is making steady progress but Saturday’s game may come too soon for him. It wasn’t an injury which showed up straight away, he just felt it in training and it gradually got worse.”