Shaun Wilkinson's Baffins Milton Rovers dugout return for derby battle with Moneyfields side he claims are 'best' team he's seen this season
Baffins Milton Rovers manager Shaun Wilkinson cannot wait to finally make his touchline return in his side's big Wessex League Premier Division derby against Moneyfields tomorrow night (7.45pm).
The Baffins boss has been unable to attend any of their opening three matches this term because of a four-match stadium ban carried over from last season.
But now Wilkinson is preparing for a return to the dugout for the much-anticipated visit of Glenn Turnbull's Moneyfields.
In the absence of their boss, Baffins have picked up four points from league trips to Fareham and Bournemouth, while they were winners on the road at Tadley Calleva in the FA Cup extra-preliminary round.
And after a period unable to take control of match-day duties, Wilkinson pledged to never be slapped with a touchline ban again.
He said: ‘It’s been weird, obviously still running the football club, picking the team and what not, then not being there on a match-day.
‘I’ve had full trust in my staff, it’s why I brought them to the football club, and nothing changes.
‘Everyone knows how we play, what we want to do, the lads have had a good start to the season.
‘It’s been a long time, I think it was November I was last on the touchline in a competitive fixture - obviously without pre-season and stuff - I won’t be having that long out again.’
Despite his stadium ban, Wilkinson was still permitted to watch other Wessex Premier matches.
The Baffins boss utilised that time taking in upcoming opposition - and has watched tomorrow's opponents Moneyfields.
He sees them as one of the 'favourites' to lift the title this term and says they are the 'best' side he has seen so far this season. But Wilkinson insisted his buoyant squad will 'take the game' to Moneys.
‘It’s a tough game, I’ve been to watch them (Moneyfields) three times. I think out of the seven teams I’ve seen in our league this season, they’re the best, in my opinion, from what I’ve seen,’ claimed Wilkinson.
‘They’ve got the best striker in the league in Steve Hutchings - obviously he’s probably not fit this week.
‘They’ve got probably the most sought after player in the league in James Franklyn and they’re probably the in-form team with a lot of players from US Portsmouth last season.
‘In my opinion, they’re one of the favourites, they’ll play it down but I’ve seen them three times and they’re a good side.
‘I think it’ll be a good advert for local football, we like to get the ball down, regardless of who the opposition is, in my opinion, you’ve got to win your home games.
‘We’re looking forward to our first home game and we’ll be taking the game to them, 100 per cent.’