The huge Wessex League Premier Division incentive for Baffins Milton Rovers at Amesbury

Baffins Milton Rovers have the chance to lay down a marker ahead of a tricky October run of fixtures by moving top of the Wessex League Premier Division on Saturday.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 2:56 pm
Billy Connor is unlikely to be fit to face Amesbury. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (241020-32)

Second-placed Baffins know victory at third-bottom Amesbury will see them overtake Brockenhurst and move to the summit - at least for a few days.

Shaun Wilkinson' s side, fresh from a thumping 7-1 home win over Cowes Sports on Wednesday, are two points off leaders Brock - without a game this weekend - with two games in hand.

Baffins have league meetings with Horndean and Bashley, currently fourth and fifth in the table, as well as coming up against Shaftesbury, who reached the FA Cup second round qualifying stage – losing 1-0 to National League South Bath City. – to look forward to in October. While they also host PO postcode rivals AFC Portchester and travel to AFC Stoneham in the Wessex Premier next month.

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And although Wilkinson admitted moving top this weekend would mean very little, what better way to start the month than by going to the summit by beating Amesbury.

The Baffins boss said: ‘It's still early days but it's just an extra carrot for our lads to go and perform and keep doing what they're doing, really.

‘You don't want to get there too quick (top of the league). It's not where you start, obviously, it's where you finish.

‘We'll just keep doing what we need to do, keep winning as many games as possible, then you land where you land, really.

‘We had a target after the Fareham game (opening-day fixture) - I did say to the lads if we could finish September top it would be a good place to be - it's a double-edged sword because that's where you want to be but you give yourself a target on your back.

‘Teams will be wanting to up their game and take that zero (unbeaten league record) away from us.’

Baffins are currently on their longest unbeaten league run (11 games) since reaching Wessex League level in the 2016-17 season.

Should they avoid defeat at Amesbury on Saturday, they'll have stretched their undefeated start this term alone to 10 matches.

But Wilkinson stressed his troops must keep applying the same attitude and application if they are to continue to be successful.

He said: ‘Teams are going to want to up their game because we haven't had a defeat in the league yet.

‘Amesbury is a difficult place to go, it's not a very good pitch, the changing rooms are tiny, I think with Amesbury on Saturday it's all about our attitude and application. If we approach that with the same attitude as we have so far then we'll be going down there looking for the win.’

Leading scorer Tommy Scutt is back available for the trip to Amesbury after returning from holiday.

But both Billy Connor and striker Jason Parish (hamstring) are still on the sidelines.