We start with great news – thank you to so many people who bought bricks – the 300 target has been met which is terrific. There is still a chance to add a further row so it is not too late if you visit the website at https://www.brackleytownfc.com/standtogether/buyabrick to make your purchase.
Four weeks ago any hope of playing football in the middle of July seemed like a pipe dream but here we are on the eve of the biggest game of the season. Gateshead are the visitors to St James Park on Sunday with a 4pm kick-off. Kick-off time was adjusted to accommodate BT Sport and partners who are providing a streaming service if you wish to watch the action live – visit the website for details.
BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Northampton will be providing their usual excellent coverage and live commentary. This will be on-line with the promise of live commentary on the radio next Saturday from Boston if Saints get through. Kick-off at Boston would be timed for 5.30pm.
A huge amount of work has been required behind the scenes to get the ground ready and all of the necessary protocols in place. These were all approved and the FA has approved all arrangements now around the National League play-offs.
This is the fourth week of training. Ahead of Friday evening’s final training session Kevin has spoken about the players’ response to being back and the mood in the camp. “The players and David, Mark and myself are delighted to be back out there. We’ve had some bumps and bruises but hopefully everyone will come through that and be ready for the match. Everybody expects a tight game. Gateshead have tested teams on the road this season and will be a test for us but if we play as we can we can give anybody a game.”
Last Saturday the team played a warm-up game against National League South play-off contenders Slough Town. “It was a useful run-out,” Kevin said. “You would hope there are benefits to doing that including players experiencing the pre-match protocols around testing and all the checks and measures in place but you never can tell. Experience you would think can help.”
In a message to the supporters Kevin said, “It is exciting we have this opportunity that we thought had been taken away from us so now we need to make it count. I am pleased supporters can follow the game in a number of ways because it is important that fans do not congregate at the ground on the day of the match. This rules around these matches are very tight and the club is responsible for making sure they are carefully followed.”
Thank you to supporters who purchased cut-outs. You will be in the ground at the game! The opportunity to buy a cut-out came very late and there had to be a cut-off point to allow for manufacture and delivery.
This time next week we will reflect on whether we have a further game to play along with further news on ground developments with the clubhouse and fan zone.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay well.