Boss Shaun Wilkinson relishing huge Horndean 'six-pointer' - Michael Birmingham claims Baffins Milton Rovers are 'red-hot favourites'

Baffins Milton Rovers boss Shaun Wilkinson believes there is a great deal riding on his side's 'six-pointer' Wessex League Premier PO postcode derby trip to face Horndean on Saturday.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 1:20 pm
Horndean will be without suspended leading scorer Connor Duffin for the visit of Baffins Milton Rovers Picture: Martyn White
Horndean will be without suspended leading scorer Connor Duffin for the visit of Baffins Milton Rovers Picture: Martyn White

Fourth-placed Baffins currently sit five points and two positions below the Deans - in second - in the table with a game in hand.

Wilkinson reckons a win could catapult his men right back into contention for a top-two finish come the end of the season.

But he admitted failure to defeat Horndean for the first time in Baffins’ history since reaching Wessex Premier level in 2016-17 would prove heavily damaging in their quest to make up ground on Michael Birmingham's men in the table.

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Wilkinson said: ‘We know what a good side Horndean are, they’re above us in the table - it’s been swinging back and forth all season - I think Saturday really is a six-point game.

‘If we beat them we can close the gap with a game in hand on them, if they beat us you’d probably say we wouldn’t be able to catch them.

‘It’s a big game, big local derby - I know they’ve got a few out - the main man Duffin (Connor) is out.

‘On the history books, Baffins have never beaten Horndean in the league - ever. We didn’t really do ourselves justice when we played them earlier in the season. Hopefully we give a good account of ourselves.’

Horndean ran out 3-1 winners when the sides met in the reverse fixture at the PMC Stadium in October.

Yet despite the Deans sitting second and Baffins presently down in fourth, Horndean boss Birmingham claimed it's Wilkinson's men who are 'red-hot favourites' to come away from Five Heads Park with all three points.

‘We’re hosting a very, very good team. Wilky (Shaun Wilkinson) has done a top job this year, without a doubt, he’s turned them around from where they were last year,’ said the Horndean boss.

‘If you have a look at the form guide, they’re coming in as the favourites - they won their last game and we lost ours - they’re red-hot favourites.

‘Wilky has really, really turned that club on its head. I’m not surprised they’re up there pushing for it.’

Horndean will have to do without leading scorer Connor Duffin and Harry Jackson, who are both suspended for the visit of Baffins.

But the visitors are missing Jason Parish, who is in Mexico getting married, and injured defender Charlie Williamson.