Wilkin says Saints must find their bearings on the road

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin
Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin

When Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin glances at the festive fixtures he will feel his side has every chance of picking up more vital points in their bid to stay clear of danger.

Saints travel to Harrogate Town for Saturday’s Vanarama National League North clash and a repeat of the opening day success would do nicely for Wilkin.

We’ve not done well enough away from home and we need to change that, sooner rather than later

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

Then Saints have a double-header with lowly Corby Town either side of a trip to Worcester City, who they also beat earlier in the season before going out of the FA Trophy at the hands of City this month.

On paper at least, it looks as though Saturday’s trip to Harrogate will be the toughest of Saints’ next four fixtures but Wilkin remains cautious, given his experience of festive football in recent seasons.

The Saints boss said: “I know football can produce some odd results over the festive period so I’m not going to look too far ahead.

“There is so much going on at this time of year and sometimes players can be distracted.

“We have to take it one match at a time and all I’m thinking about at the moment is the trip to Harrogate. They’ve got some very good players but we’re going there on the back of two wins and with a lot more confidence.

“However, our form on the road is not good and that is something we have to improve.

“The players know when they sign for a club in this league that there is a lot of travelling and they have to be mentally prepared for that.

“That is part and parcel of playing football at this level and we’ve not done well enough away from home. We need to change that sooner rather than later.”

Midfielder Richard Batchelor missing the trip north as he serves a one-match suspension for picking up five bookings and Curtis McDonald could be a doubt with an ongoing back problem.

But Steve Diggin should have recovered from heavy bruising to his leg and on-loan striker James Akintunde resumed training this week and could be in contention for a return, having been out of action since the FA Cup replay defeat at Newport County.

Having seen Saints climb away from the relegation zone with back-to-back victories, Wilkin used the blank weekend to put his players through their paces with several training sessions ahead of the busy festive period.

He said: “It was a good to get some time with the players, having not been here for pre-season, and it gave us a chance to work on a few things.”