Saints to remain in the North next season as boss Wilkin signs up key men

Kevin Wilkin
Kevin Wilkin

Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin has been busy tying down key players this week after receiving confirmation that the club will remain in the Vanarama National League North next season.

Saints have spent the previous five campaigns in the National League North but the club had been left in limbo while the FA decided the league allocations for 2017/18.

But confirmation of Gloucester City’s move to the south this week means Brackley will once again be taking their place in the north, much to the delight of Wilkin.

Gloucester had previously argued that they needed to stay in the northern section because of their proposed ground share at Evesham United following their departure from Cheltenham Town’s Whaddon Road ground.

But Wilkin said: “Gloucester ground sharing at Evesham shouldn’t come into it, the decision should be made on where the club is based. They could move back to Gloucester after a season and what will happen then?

“I can’t believe it has taken this long for a decision to be made.

“We’ve got the nucleus of last season’s squad retained but before I can add to that I need to know which division we will be playing in. I know how hard it is to rebuild a squad after my experience at Nuneaton and that’s not something I want to have to do here.”

Now he knows which league they will be in, the Town boss has been hard at work preparing for next season with a number of important first-team played signed up.

One of those includes FA Cup hat-trick hero Jimmy Armson, who joins Gareth Dean, Adam Walker, Shane Byrne, Ellis Myles, Matt Lowe, Alex Gudger, Lee Ndlovu and Luke Graham back at St James Park next season.

There are also sure to be some new faces on show when the new campaign comes around, one such player being Connor Franklin who signed for Brackley this week.

The 29-year left-sided defender, who started out as an apprentice at Leicester City, played for Solihull Moors last term following earlier spells at Hinckley, Nuneaton and Alfreton Town where he made over 150 appearances and was selected for the England C team.

However, one player who will not be returning to the club next season is goalkeeper Laurie Walker, who has joined Hemel Hempstead Town.