Hungerford boss Bobby Wilkinson
HUNGERFORD Town boss Bobby Wilkinson looked back on 2016 and said: “What an incredible year it has been.”
Twelve months ago, Crusaders were battling for a play-off spot in the Evo-Stik Southern League.
Now, they lie eighth in the Vanarama National League South, just four points off a play-off place.
But while Wilkinson and his team have taken the plaudits for Hungerford’s meteoric rise in recent seasons, the manager was at pains to point out that their success was a result of the hard work of everyone at the club.
He said: “2016 has been absolutely out of this world.
“This has been just a wonderful year and it is an absolute credit to everyone on the pitch and behind the scenes who have worked so hard.
“We are challenging for a play-off place and that is due to the efforts of everyone here.
“Chairman Nigel Warrick has backed me from start to finish since I have been at the club.
“Let’s not beat about the bush – little Hungerford Town should not be where we are and to achieve what we have is absolutely incredible.
“We have had two promotions in my six years here, but we mustn’t stop and stand still because anything is possible if we all keep working together.
“But the main thing is that we have to enjoy it because you just don’t know what is round the corner.”
Wilkinson paid tribute to all the backroom staff, who rarely get the credit their efforts deserve, and their loyal band of supporters who travel to every away game.
Now Crusaders will turn their attentions to getting 2017 off to a winning start.
They entertain Bath City at Bulpit Lane on Sunday (3pm) in the second leg of a double-header against the Somerset side.
The teams battled out a 1-1 draw at Twerton Park on Boxing Day, and Wilkinson is expecting another close encounter.
Jon Boardman headed Hungerford in front in the 69th minute, but that lead lasted only seven minutes before Bath’s Andy Watkins slotted home the equaliser.
Wilkinson said: “To be honest I was disappointed that we didn’t get all three points because we had chances to win it.
“It was very tight in the first half, but it opened up in the second half and we had some good chances.
“But I suppose they had a few as well so probably a draw was about the right result.
“We look forward to the challenge on Sunday and we’ll be looking for three more points.”
Hungerford are now unbeaten in four games in the Vanarama South.