Walker is hoping that this will be Brackley's year

Glenn Walker sees no reason why Brackley Town can’t break their National League North play-off duck this season.
Glenn Walker is hoping Brackley Town can go all the way in the play-offs this timeGlenn Walker is hoping Brackley Town can go all the way in the play-offs this time
Glenn Walker is hoping Brackley Town can go all the way in the play-offs this time

It will be far from normal for the Saints when they take on Gateshead in the first stage of the play-offs at St James Park on Sunday, July 19 (3pm kick-off).

The play-offs in the National League and North and South divisions are going ahead after the final league positions were confirmed on a points-per-game basis.

The matches will be played behind closed doors and there will be no extra-time with the games going straight to a penalty shoot-out if the scores are level after 90 minutes.

Either Brackley or Gateshead will then travel to Boston United in the semi-finals on July 25 with the final due to take place at the home ground of the highest ranked team on Saturday, August 1.

For Brackley, it is the third season in a row they have finished in the play-off places.

They were beaten by Harrogate Town in the final in 2018, shortly after they had won the FA Trophy at Wembley, and were then beaten on penalties by Spennymoor Town in the semi-finals last season.

And, despite the circumstances being completely different this time around, Walker insists there is a real belief within the Saints squad.

“It was such a disappointment to not be able to finish the season like we would normally do,” said Walker, who has made over 300 appearances for Brackley.

“There was a lot of uncertainty about what would happen with the play-offs but we have been back two weeks and we are having weekly tests.

“All the boys have come back in good condition so everyone deserves some credit for staying fit just in case we got this opportunity.

“We aren’t really strangers to the play-offs over the past couple of seasons so the atmosphere within the camp is quite vibrant at the moment.

“Everyone is looking forward to it and there is a belief that maybe this could be our year.

“Anyone can beat anyone on their day in this league and it’s a straight knockout situation.

“It’s 90 minutes with no extra-time and straight to penalties if it’s a draw so I think that will make it more of an attacking game, both teams will be going for it.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t go and do it.”

The Saints players have been tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis since returning to training.

And while Walker admits the tests aren’t particularly pleasant, he insists the squad are doing all they can to stay healthy when they are away from the club.

Asked what the testing process has been like, Walker replied: “It’s not the most pleasant thing to be honest!

“We are being tested once a week and everyone has tested negative so far, which is good.

“We are all doing the right things and keeping ourselves safe when we are away from the club and hopefully everyone stays healthy

and we can be ready for the game.”

Altrincham face Chester in the other play-off match on July 19 with the winners travelling to York City in the semi-finals a week later.