Wilkinson: Baffins’ Portsmouth Senior Cup final against Moneyfields’ ‘Galacticos’ couldn’t have come at a worse time

Shaun Wilkinson conceded Baffins Milton Rovers' delayed 2019-20 Portsmouth Senior Cup meeting against Moneyfields could not have come at a worse time.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 12:50 pm
Baffins Milton Rovers boss Shaun Wilkinson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The Baffins boss is likely to be without nine first team players for the showpiece occasion at Fratton Park tomorrow evening and could go into the clash with just 12 fit squad members.

Wilkinson admitted he's had to 'beg, borrow and steal' just to get a team out for the final.

Baffins' had their final run-out before the Moneyfields showdown when they lost 2-1 at Isthmian League Premier side Worthing last Saturday.

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Wilkinson saw enough from his team in that friendly to suggest his patched-up squad can at least put up a fight against Moneyfields.

But he stressed his men are going to be up against it facing a team of 'Galacticos' with supporters allowed inside Fratton Park for the first time since Pompey hosted Fleetwood last December.

Wilkinson said: 'We’re having to beg, borrow or steal. We’re going to have players filling up the bench, some may even be starting at 50 per cent fitness.

‘Credit to them lads, they want to help the club out, obviously it’s a final.

‘It couldn’t come at a worse time but at the end of the day - like I said to the lads on Saturday - ‘what type of man are you? Do you roll over and get your belly tickled or are you going to stand up and have a go?’

‘Certainly, on Saturday, they stood up and had a go against a team far superior than Moneyfields so I’d like to think we can take that into the final.

‘At the minute we’ve got 14 (players available for final). We’ll be training this week, two of those are injured, so we’ve got 11/12 fit players at the minute and one of those is a 16-year-old sub goalie.

'We’re right up against it, obviously we’re underdogs, they’re going to have a good side out with players playing from a higher level and they’re a higher level anyway - hopefully we can give an account of ourselves.'

Former Baffins boss Louis Bell is currently taking on joint interim managerial responsibilities at Moneyfields alongside Louis Savage.

With incoming boss Glenn Turnbull preparing for a Wessex League Cup final with US Portsmouth this weekend and Dave Carter departed for AFC Portchester, the pair have been asked to oversee the delayed Portsmouth Senior Cup run.

Against Fareham in last month’s semi-final, holders Moneys fielded a mix of players who have left to join Portchester, some dual-signed from Chichester City, some reserves, and talisman striker Steve Hutchings.

Wilkinson is at a loss to work out who might be lining up for Moneyfields in the final.

He said: 'You look at the team they rolled out in the semi-final, they rolled in four from Chichester City, four came back from Portchester - I think I looked at the team sheet and only two Moneyfields players played, Danny Burroughs and Steve Hutchings, the rest aren’t even Moneyfields players.

‘Obviously, Louis Bell will be taking the game which might be his last and he’s ex-Baffins manager so there are few things there.

‘Louis will be up for it, he’ll have a competitive team, whether he rolls in a few from US Portsmouth who we’ve been told are already signed, who knows? They really are the Galaticos.'

Moneys had signed on USP players James Franklyn, Dec Seiden, Elliott Turnbull, Callum Glenn and Tom Cain as a contingency, but none will be playing ahead of their Wessex Cup final with Hamworthy two days later.

Baffins this week signed ex-Horndean defender Fuzz Kanjanda, who had been at Chichester, but only players signed seven days prior to the final can turn out at Fratton Park on Thursday.