Wealdstone ready for first leg of Trophy tie

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 March 2018

Wealdstone manager Bobby Wilkinson celebrates with the Wealdstone Raider, Gordon Hill (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Wealdstone manager Bobby Wilkinson celebrates with the Wealdstone Raider, Gordon Hill (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Wealdstone face easily their most important match of the season so far when they visit National League North outfit Brackley Town in the first leg of their FA Trophy semi-final on Saturday.

Stones make the trip to the Saints this weekend, before the second leg at Grosvenor Vale on March 24.

Boss Bobby Wilkinson will want his team to still be in the tie by the time they return home for the second leg.

However, the Wealdstone manager insists he will not set up defensively for the first leg on Saturday.

“We’re very excited about the semi-final. A lot of people have said to me it’s a two-leg tie; it’s not, it depends on how you get on in the first leg,” he told the National League website.

“One thing I promise is that we’ll be going there organised, ready and going to win.

“We’re not going there to sit in, we’re going there to win because I believe in these boys.

“It’s a massive chance for both sides, it’s 50-50 and whoever wants it the most will get through in the end.”

Wilkinson will hope Wealdstone can bounce back for the Trophy tie after suffering a 1-0 loss at leaders Havant & Waterlooville in the National League South on Tuesday.

The Stones boss named a much-changed side, including handing full back Jake Sheppard, a recent loan signing from Reading, his debut.

The defeat to the Hawks followed a battling 2-2 draw for the Grosvenor Vale outfit at promotion-chasing Braintree Town on Saturday.

For the time being, though, Wilkinson can shelve thoughts about the league as Wealdstone focus on the FA Trophy.

Stones are just two games away from what would be a very short trip to the final at Wembley in May.

The Grosvenor Vale were last in the semi-finals in the 2011-12 season, when they lost over two legs to eventual runners-up Newport County.

Back then, though, Stones were in the Ryman Premier and were up against an Exiles side from two tiers higher in the Conference National.

Against Brackley, Stones will be facing off against a side playing at the same level on the English football pyramid

Wilkinson will hope that counts for something this weekend when his team visit the Saints.

And crucially, the Grosvenor Vale club will still hope they are in the tie when they return home for the second leg a week later.

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