AFC Telford v Chorley: Pressure on Bucks to perform says Max Bramley
With their confidence knocked from back-to-back defeats, AFC Telford United are in for a huge test tomorrow.
National League North leaders Chorley are visiting the New Bucks Head and, given how things have gone for Gavin Cowan’s charges recently, it would be fair to state the clash has come at a bad time.
The more that you think about it though, it could be a blessing in disguise for the Bucks.
Inflicting a first loss of the term on the Magpies would make up for the previous couple of games – being downed 1-0 at Blyth Spartans and then dumped out of the FA Cup at one-division-below Warrington Town – and reaffirm that they are genuine play-off contenders.
Chorley have won nine and drawn two so the vast majority expect them to bag the win.
Some might say the pressure is all on the visitors to keep up their stunning form, but not Bucks keeper Max Bramley.
He insists that the onus is firmly on Telford to give the supporters a performance they can be proud of, especially following last weekend’s disappointment at Warrington.
“There is pressure on them, of course, but I’d say that most of the pressure is on us as we’re the ones at home,” said Bramley.
“We all know we need to start picking up results again after what’s happened over the past few weeks so we’re all focused and ready to do that.”
On what has been the problem in recent games, he added: “We just haven’t been quick out of the gate.
“The mood among the squad, naturally, hasn’t been as good as it was when we were winning – but it’s nothing negative.
“We know we’re a good side and it’s about showing it again.”
The big positive for the Bucks ahead of the encounter is that they are unbeaten at home.
Their one win from their last five came at the New Bucks Head – 3-1 against Bedford Town in the Cup – while they have won four and drawn one on their own patch in the league.
And they have everybody fit and available.
Top scorer Daniel Udoh is should lead the line after taking his tally to 11 in all competitions last time out.
But it is a toss-up as to who will partner him in attack.
Amari Morgan-Smith, Andre Brown and Matthew Barnes-Homer have all had game time up top as of late, but none have managed to get on the scoresheet.
Cowan may be inclined to hand Shrewsbury loanee John McAtee a start as a second striker, to support Udoh when Telford have possession and help out the midfield when off it in an attempt to stifle the dominant Magpies.
Chorley have a few former Bucks players in their ranks.
Winger Elliot Newby joined them from Telford in the summer for an undisclosed fee while Josh Wilson, who was the under Rob Smith two seasons ago, and shot-stopper Matt Urwin have been a regular starters for Jamie Vermiglio – another ex-Buck.
The key man for the hosts is Udoh.
He will have to be at his very best to break through a Magpies backline which has conceded only four goals in 11 games.