Wilkin looks to the cup for Saints to kick-start season

Will Oxford United allow Aidan Hawtin to play in FA Cup tie?
Will Oxford United allow Aidan Hawtin to play in FA Cup tie?

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin will be looking for his side to make smooth progress in the Emirates FA Cup this weekend.

Saints entertain Rugby Town in Saturday’s third qualifying round tie with Wilkin looking for the Vanarama National League North strugglers to make short work of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League visitors.

We need players to roll up their sleeves and scrap for it

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

Wilkin saw his side drop into the bottom two following Saturday’s solitary goal defeat at Bradford Park Avenue and knows they cannot afford to slip up at St James Park against a Rugby outfit enduring a similar start in Division One South.

Wilkin will look to this weekend’s FA Cup tie as an opportunity for his side to show what they can do and knows they should be too strong for Rugby.

But he warned: “We will be favourites again but the players have got to show the character to deal with the situation.

“The FA Cup offers the club a great opportunity to make extra revenue and I want to do well in the competition.”

On-loan Oxford United midfielder Aidan Hawtin made his debut at Bradford, where he was utilised at full-back. Wilkin was impressed by Hawtin’s debut but is waiting to see if his parent club will allow him to play in Saturday’s FA Cup tie.

Wilkin saw Hawtin in action on Tuesday for Oxford United’s development side but says he will not be taking any more young players at the moment and feels the club needs more experienced players on-loan to get Saints up the table.

Looking back on Saturday’s defeat at Bradford, Wilkin was disappointed not to get anything from the game but conceded his players must give more to the cause.

He said: “It was good to see competitive midfielders Richard Batchelor and Eddie Odhiambo back on the field and we need them fully match fit.

“But it was a disappointing overall performance yet we still had chances to get a point. In a dog-fight you have to take those chances when they come along.

“We need the players to roll up their sleeves and scrap for it. Confidence is not where we need it to be at the moment but training has been good and bright with everyone working hard and we need to transfer this into game situations.”