Saints must rise to challenge to climb out of the drop zone

Joe Clarke should be back for Brackley Town against the leaders
Joe Clarke should be back for Brackley Town against the leaders
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It doesn’t get any easier for Brackley Town in their fight to stay in the Vanarama National League North.

On the back of last weekend’s narrow defeat at second-placed North Ferriby United, Saints entertain leaders Solihull Moors in Saturday’s clash.

Solihull are the strongest side we’ve played but that could have been in part down to our poor performance

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

Saints slipped back into the relegation zone on Tuesday following Hednesford Town’s victory at AFC Telford United and to climb back out of it they will have to produce a sterling display against a Solihull outfit still smarting from their 6-0 defeat at Harrogate Town.

Wilkin said: “It doesn’t get any easier for us but that was a shock result last weekend for Solihull Moors.

“However, successful teams, and I’m sure Solihull will be one, don’t often lose back-to-back games so that won’t make our task any easier. We will have to be on our game from the start to get anything out of it.”

Saints lost 3-0 at the leaders earlier this month but Wilkin isn’t sure whether Solihull were that good or his side that bad on the day.

He said: “Solihull are the strongest side we’ve played but that could have been in part down to our poor performance.”

Saints should be boosted by the return of Joe Clarke following his three-match suspension.

The midfielder, who was initially on-loan at St James Park from Kidderminster Harriers, is expected to sign for the club before the weekend after leaving Aggborough. But Aidan Hawtin has returned to his parent club Oxford United.

Wilkin is hoping to have another on-loan player in the squad for Saturday’s game and knows Saints have to make the most of home advantage as their form on the road is so poor.

Wilkin added: “To reach this stage of the season without getting an away win is not good enough.

“But we were more than a match for North Ferriby and they were relieved to get all three points at the end.

“Away from home against a strong side you could say the performance merited a share of the points. We have improved and are giving ourselves a chance now in matches and are more competitive.

“But it is results that matter and poor moments are still costing us. We scored a very good goal and almost equalised with the scramble at the end.”