Wilkin looks ahead to a famous day as Brackley Town prepare for Wembley trip

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Brackley Town will be setting their satnavs for Wembley this Sunday when they make the short journey to the capital for the final of the FA Trophy.

Saints will be backed by nearly 6,000 fans on one of the biggest days in the club’s 128-year history as they step out onto the hallowed turf of Wembley for the very first time.

To get to this stage, Wilkin’s side have not had it easy with hard-fought wins over Sutton, Stockport and Wealdstone in a two-legged semi-final.

National League side Bromley await them in the final and the London-based outfit will be favourites going into the game having finished ninth in the division above, but Saints are in confident mood.

Wilkin never played at Wembley as a player and his only experience there as a manager, in charge of Wrexham, ended in defeat and then his sacking the following day.

This time, though, he’s hoping to create fonder memories. “A Wembley appearance puts the club up there with the non-league elite,” he said. “For a small town this is a great opportunity and it marks a fine achievement for the club.

“Such opportunities do not come along often and I just hope that everyone around the club enjoys the day and takes in the experience.

“It’s taken ten games to get to the final with some close encounters as you would expect and some gruelling games, but these players are robust enough to deal with it. “

Coping with such a grand occasion will be a challenge for Wilkin and his players but it’s one he feels confident they are fully prepared for.

“We must not allow it to get to us,” he added. “There is a lot of excitement and it burns nervous energy. Sometimes players have reflected on playing at Wembley and said that they felt drained so that when the game actually starts they didn’t perform as they would expect to and perhaps didn’t make the decisions they would normally make. We will try to address this but players also have responsibility to take this on for themselves.

“We will be most people’s underdogs of course and Bromley are without doubt an adaptable side and a good side, but we won’t fear them. It comes down to what happens on the day and we are not there to make up the numbers.

“We will focus on us and what we can do. We will aim to be on the front foot so we bring our best game to the table.”

Saints must also recover from the agony of losing last Sunday’s play-off final to Harrogate Town when their dreams of reaching the National League went up in smoke for another season.

“It has been a remarkable season so far,” Wilkin continued. “This group of players is a pleasure to work with. Training is never a chore, I look forward to it, and there is a good feeling in the group.

“I hope supporters thoroughly enjoy the day at Wembley. The players have shown they can deal with big occasions already and we will go with a degree of optimism – we go there with the intention of making it a brilliant day for our supporters and the best way to do that is to win it!”