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A new Jim Montgomery plays for AFC Telford

Sport | Published:

AFC Telford United goalkeeper James Montgomery is ready for the Conference Premier spotlight ahead of tonight's televised clash at Braintree Town.

The 20-year-old, who was snapped up by Bucks boss Steve Kittrick on non-contract terms last month, is set to make his debut in the division as cover for Freddy Hall.

The Telford No 1 is currently in the Caribbean on international duty with Bermuda against the Bahamas in a two-legged World Cup 2018 qualifier.

It will see him miss this evening's match at Cressing Road and Saturday's trip to Dover.

And Montgomery, who has worked with Kittrick when both were at Guiseley earlier in their careers, said: "I have been waiting for an opportunity like this.

"I am just looking forward to playing. It should be a great experience. I have played men's football lower down the divisions but this will be my first time playing in the Conference.

"It's a step on the ladder for me and hopefully I can push on from there."

Montgomery, who was once on the books at Middlesbrough, could have made his league debut for Telford at an easier time.

The Bucks will start the game 16 points from safety at the foot of the table, knowing defeat could see that gap stretched to 18 points.

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There would be six games remaining – with just goal difference preventing them from being relegated – if Telford lose and Alfreton beat Dartford.

But Montgomery said: "I have played for Telford in the second-half against Shrewsbury Town (in the Shropshire Senior Cup final).

"I kept a clean sheet in that game so hopefully I can continue that tonight and Saturday.

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"I am just looking to get games under my belt and obviously in the position Telford are in I need to keep clean sheets so that if we do get a goal we can get three points on the board."

The game will have the added glare of the TV cameras as BT Sport will broadcast it live, but Montgomery is not fazed about the extra scrutiny that will bring.

He said: "I have been living away from home for many years and my family have always been supportive.

"But they haven't been able to get to watch games so it is always a good thing that family and friends can see it tonight.

"You could say it's pressure but it gives you more of an incentive as well and it is just something that will spur me on more.

"It is going to make me want to do better. I don't really see it as pressure, I am just really looking forward to it."

He's the grandson of former Sunderland and Birmingham goalkeeper Jim Montgomery, who made arguably the most famous save in FA Cup history when Sunderland beat Leeds 1-0 in the 1973 final.

So he may well have to get used to the media spotlight in the future.

He has been on trial with Championship side Millwall recently and the Lions are keeping tabs on the player ahead of next season.

But Montgomery is adamant that he will allow nothing to distract him from the immediate job in hand.

He said: "You never know what is going to happen but I just need to focus on tonight.

"I don't want to get tied up with what could happen. I'll just focus on tonight, hopefully we'll get three points and a clean sheet.

"At the minute it is not about where I am going to be next season or who is interested

"It is about trying to stay up in the league and trying to get three points. Hopefully we will get the performance we need."

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