HARRY Wheeler has praised Billy Bricknell for his attitude after returning to the team with a hat-trick in Tuesday’s 6-1 FA Cup win over Hungerford Town.

The first-team coach led the team in manager Glenn Tamplin’s absence, and the players excelled with further goals from Louie Theophanous, Jeremy Lynch and Paul Konchesky.

However, Bricknell grabbed the headlines having climbed off the bench in the first half as a replacement for Jermaine Pennant, who had sustained a hamstring injury.

And Wheeler said Bricknell deserved his goals.

“Billy got his goals and we look like we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

“Billy puts himself in the frame. We have a competitive squad and he has showed he is ready after his illness. And we did all this without Jake Robinson in the side.

“I am pleased for Billy as he has great attitude and applies himself well.

“In terms of the match, the final 25 minutes was straightforward but it was a tough game,” he added.

“We started the match well but they played pretty well and it was slightly end to end - too much for my liking.

“The first goal was massively important, thankfully we got that, and the second goal was well timed.

“At half-time we thought of going to four at the back as we thought they would gamble and throw everyone up, but we stayed with three and it was probably a mistake as they scored.

“Then we put four at the back and scored the four goals, so it worked out.”

Billericay now face a trip to Brackley Town, of the National League North, in the final qualifying round.

Currently third in the league and fresh from a 4-1 mauling of Braintree Town, Brackley are likely to pose a tougher test than Hungerford.

But Wheeler is not concerned, and is relishing the challenge.

“We will have them watched and we know a few things about them already,” he said.

“That is not us being presumptuous, that is us being prepared.

“It will be tough but we did it to Hungerford and we can do it again. We have to back ourselves and we will be confident. I hope we will get the same outcome, but hopefully without a replay this time.”