The Bucks return to action for the first time since January 2 – when they earned a point with a 1-1 draw on the road at Chester – this evening with a long trip to the North East.
Carden’s squad has recovered from a Covid issue, where six players were forced to isolate after coming into contact with a positive case. The issue forced the postponement of back-to-back home games against Southport and Curzon Ashton, while last weekend’s inactivity was due to York City’s FA Trophy involvement.
The spell out of action has done little to help the Bucks’ plight at the bottom of National League North. They still occupy the sole relegation spot and are now five points adrift, albeit with tonight’s game in hand. Telford do have a couple of games in hand on some sides above them.
Carden’s men are boosted by some new arrivals, notably yesterday’s loan capture of experienced AFC Fylde midfielder Liam Nolan on loan.
Nolan has played in League Two for Accrington Stanley and the National League for FC Halifax, of late. The 27-year-old Liverpudlian is a former player of Carden’s, with the two having worked together in an impressive stint at Southport.
While Telford have been kicking their heels – and frozen pitches put paid to Saturday’s training session as the Bucks instead worked in the gym – former Wolves defender Mike Williamson’s Gateshead have boosted their promotion credentials.
The Heed, who lost in the FA Cup to League One Charlton last month, are second in National North, two points behind leaders Brackley with a game in hand. They will look to go top of the pile this evening.
Gateshead responded from surprise new year defeats to Blyth Spartans and Chorley with 4-2 and 2-0 wins at Bradford Park Avenue and Hereford, on Saturday. Despite their hosts’ lofty status, Carden – whose Telford side have drawn their previous two games and still won just twice in 19 league outings this season – is plotting ways to attack.
“It will be a tough game. I watched them last Monday night and they were good, they were impressive,” Carden said. “They attack really well, they dominate the ball but are very expansive in the way they play, they play open football.
“If you get your balance right and shape right I believe they can be got at. Bradford (Park Avenue) probably had about five minutes in the game but scored two goals.
“They lost to Blyth earlier in the month, which was a very unexpected result and followed that by losing to Chorley, which wasn’t as eyebrow-raising but you’d still fancy them to beat Chorley.
“Before that they’d won four on the bounce. They’re a team up there and doing well, you’ve got to respect that. But at the same time you’ve got to be brave, attack, we can’t just sit back and allow teams to come at us and think we’re damage limitation.
“That’s not how I want to be and certainly we’ll be going there and we won’t be wanting to lie down just because they’re challenging for promotion and we’re at the other end of the table.
“That’s a mindset we won’t have going into it and I certainly won’t be encouraging that.”