Brackley Town will entertain FC United of Manchester in next month’s National League North curtain-raiser after the fixtures were revealed earlier this week, with manager Kevin Wilkin still busy assembling his squad for the new campaign, writes Tim Carroll.
Bidding to build on the success of last term, when Saints mounted a sustained promotion push and also reached round two of the FA Cup, Wilkin has kept the bulk of his squad together whilst adding a sprinkling of new signings.
The latest of those arrived this week in Jordan Williams. The 19-year-old spent three seasons at Cambridge and becomes Wilkin’s fifth addition alongside striker Andy Brown, defender Connor Franklin, goalkeeper Danny Lewis and midfielder Jack Byrne.
“Like other teams, we want to start the season well as we did last season,” said Wilkin. “Last time we had a draw and a good win at Kidderminster.
“I am pleased with where we are at this point. We start with a very good core from last season and I have been able to make some additions.
“We might run with a slightly bigger squad perhaps but what we know is that we need that little bit more quality in certain areas. We need options to change our shape and off the bench also. I need to be able to vary things and to keep things fresh.”
Saints started pre-season in fine fashion on Tuesday when Lee Ndlovu and Jimmy Armson scored in a 2-1 win over League One Shrewsbury.
Town next play at Corby on Saturday followed by further friendlies against Kettering, Barwell, AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Oxford City.
“We have a good run of pre-season games,” added Wilkin. “The mix will bring a variety of challenges including a match on Oxford City’s artificial pitch and I feel sure the run will bring us to the first league game against FC United in good shape.”
Captain Gareth Dean also spoke ahead of pre-season, saying: “The start of a new season is always exciting.
“I enjoyed my first season at the club and was pleased to get my future sorted out early signing up again. I love working with Kevin Wilkin, Staffy (David Staff) and Noony (Mark Noon). We have a good group of players and we enjoy each others’ company.
“The progress we made last season has given us a platform for the coming campaign. Last season we had a strong core squad but not always the strength in depth. We want to be challenging at the top end. The manager has brought in some new players who bring quality and experience and will add to what we’ve got.”