Wilkin knows what Saints need to gain an advantage

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin knows what is required on Saturday
Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin knows what is required on Saturday

Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin knows only three points on the final day will guarantee his side a home semi-final tie in the play-offs.

Saints go into Saturday’s Vanarama National League North clash with relegated FC United of Manchester looking for the win that will earn them a home tie for the second season running.

We’ve got to make sure we win on Saturday and then plan accordingly for whoever we face in the play-offs

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

Only Spennymoor Town, who travel to Curzon Ashton on Saturday, can overhaul them and victory at St James Park will secure the third place finish.

Monday’s stalemate at Chester ended Saints’ slim chances of making second spot and earning a home tie in the play-off final should they get through.

But Wilkin admits that was always going to be a bonus and now third place must be secured.

He said: “We’ve just got to try and consolidate that third spot. That was probably always going to be the realistic finishing position and anything more than that would be a bonus.

“We’ve got to make sure we win on Saturday and then plan accordingly for whoever we face in the play-offs.

“FC United have picked up some decent results of late and they don’t usually get beaten by many goals so they’re obviously a difficult team to break down.

“They will be relaxed on Saturday, the result won’t affect them either way, but we faced that scenario against Boston and other teams recently, so it’s just a case of us imposing our game on them.

“Our home form has been very good this season so we need to be patient and hopefully get the right result. The firm pitches do not suit our quick passing game, that’s something else to contend with, but we’ve been used to that in the last few matches.

“We’ve shown we can adapt to different situations, even though we lost at Spennymoor on a hard ground in a swirling wind, we played well enough to have won the game.

“There is not much between the top five teams, with only nine points from top to fifth, so everyone is capable of beating anyone on their day. It’s been a very tight and competitive league this season.”

Wilkin should have a full squad to pick from and Connor Franklin, who has missed most of the campaign through injury, could be back in contention either for Saturday or the play-offs.

Wilkin said: “We’ve got a full squad which is good to have at this stage of the season and Connor Franklin shouldn’t be too far away from a return so we’ll have a look at him in training this week. It will be good to have him back in the ranks to give us another option.”