Baffins Milton Rovers boss Wilkinson’s message to his squad: This season is a free hit for us – so enjoy it

Baffins manager Shaun Wilkinson. Picture: Chris MoorhouseBaffins manager Shaun Wilkinson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Baffins manager Shaun Wilkinson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Baffins Milton boss Shaun Wilkinson will send his squad into the new season with a message ringing in their ears: ‘Just enjoy it.’

‘I see this season as a free hit,’ he remarked ahead of the last two home friendlies against Chichester City this Wednesday and two divisions higher Worthing on Saturday.

‘There’s no pressure on us. I’ll tell the players to go out to enjoy it, enjoy the playing surface, enjoy what the club are doing for them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘No-one with a brain between their ears can expect us to win the league this season.

I don’t know this league, it will take me 10 games or so to get an idea.

‘But I have been told that the team with the biggest budget normally wins the league. If that’s the case, we’ll be 16th or lower!

‘The likes of Horndean and Portchester have been trying for years to get out of this league, and clubs like Lymington and Hamworthy have good budgets. Even Fareham will probably have treble what I’ve got.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘But there again, I’ve been at clubs with big budgets who were expected to do well and it doesn’t always work out like that.’

After heavy pre-season losses to Hayling and US Portsmouth, Wilkinson was ‘far happier’ with the 1-1 weekend home draw against higher tier Winchester City.

James Cowan fired Baffins ahead from a free-kick, with the visitors levelling in the second half.

‘I’ve never looked at results in pre-season, not even when I was playing,’ said Wilkinson.

‘I won’t get too down if we lose or too excited if we win.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘Pre-season is about working on systems, tactics, getting the squad to buy into what you’re trying to do.

‘I know a lot of teams are put together in the mirror image of what their manager was like as a player.

‘I want my players to get the ball down and play, but in the right areas and on the right surfaces. They must be able to adapt and mix things up.

‘First and foremost I want us to improve on last season’s league position and improve in the cups. We’ve got to have progression. If you haven’t got that in football you’re not doing your job properly.’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Baffins lift the curtain on 2020/21 at home to AFC Stoneham in the extra preliminary qualifying round of the FA Cup next Wednesday.

‘The side is kind of picking itself at present,’ said the boss. ‘I’m looking for the subs to come on and jump in my face, but I’m not seeing that at the moment.’

Baffins have pushed the midweek friendly with Chichester back 24 hours to Wednesday (7.45pm) due to a heavy rain forecast.

‘We want to protect the pitch,’ said Wilkinson of the newly-laid surface.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘It’s disrupted the plans - we were going to play on Tuesday and train hard on Thursday - but we don’t want to damage the pitch.

‘Both sides are probably going to have players missing now, but it’s the right thing to do.’

Wilkinson said he could have a couple of new faces in the squad for Chichester’s visit.