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Wilkinson feeling good about promotion push

After his exit from Dandy Town, Jomar Wiklkinson finished last season on the bench with Wolves as their assistant coach. Now he is on the way back with Southampton Rangers, who are pushing for promotion. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Almost a year after losing his position as Dandy Town Hornets coach, Jomar Wilkinson is enjoying himself again at Southampton Rangers, of the First Division.

Wilkinson departed from St John’s Field in January after Town suffered a string of poor results, losing seven of their opening nine matches.

Kwame Steede, a late transfer from Devonshire Cougars, was appointed as new coach and eventually steadied the ship, guiding Town to safety while Wilkinson moved to Wolves, assisting coach Toriano Davis for the remainder of the season.

Wilkinson, who was appointed as Dawud Tucker’s successor at Rangers in June, has guided the promotion hopefuls into the top three and they are still unbeaten in the league.

They blew a chance to beat leaders BAA at the weekend, though, with the visiting side coming back from 2-0 down in the second half to earn a draw.

Rangers now have late transfer Darius Cox, who captained Robin Hood to the Premier Division title last season, at the heart of their defence and Wilkinson values his experience.

“I’m very pleased to pick up ‘Coxy’,” said Wilkinson, a two-times Bermuda Football Association Coach of the Year.

“He gives us some stability back there, some leadership and has definitely added to the team. We’ve still got Nacori Smith to come in from school and we’re going to go from strength to strength.”

Smith was one of three players, along with Ryan Brown and Rai Sampson, to join Rangers from North Village in the summer, while Maquel Nisbett-Tankard also returned to Southampton Oval from Boulevard.

Rangers were one of the busiest teams during the two transfer periods, with Donte Brangman and Shannon Coddington-Burchall rejoining from Hood. They also signed five players from second-tier rivals Paget Lions.

Meanwhile, Akale Bean and Khimo Harrison returned from Somerset Eagles, while Quadir Maynard also joined Rangers despite helping Young Men’s Social Club to promotion last season.

“The community here and the organisation at Rangers gave me all the support I need,” Wilkinson said. “Hats go off to them and the whole community for coming out and supporting us. Hopefully, they’ll stick around to the end of the season. Promotion is definitely our number one priority.”

Rangers, who were relegated with Hamilton Parish in 2016, face Somerset Eagles in the First Division Shield quarter-finals at PHC Field on Sunday.