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AFC Telford's Zak Lilly thriving after switch to defence

AFC Telford United youngster Zak Lilly is out to prove his conversion from a striker to a centre-half is no flash in the pan.

Zak Lilly
Zak Lilly

Lilly enjoyed an impressive first start in his new position as the Bucks drew 1-1 with National League North leaders Chorley at the weekend.

The 20-year-old was challenged by boss Gavin Cowan to kick-start his career by making the switch to the other end of the pitch in the summer.

Former Thomas Telford pupil Lilly was a little apprehensive at first but has keenly taken up the task and said: “Honestly, I have really enjoyed the transition.

“At first I wasn’t sure but that quickly changed once I’d had a few training sessions and pre-season matches in that position. “I realised it is actually a position that suits me better.

“The gaffer has been very helpful. He has been very good to me, believing in me and trusting me to go out and do a job – and not many gaffers would have done.”

The clash with the Magpies was Lilly’s first league appearance for Telford in 18 months.

He had a few loan spells away from the club last season which were hampered by injuries.

“I was really pleased to get that first start,” added Lilly.

“It was a good experience, playing out in front of the fans for the first time in a long time.

“I enjoyed it more than anything. I just did the basics to start with and once I’d settled into the game, I could start to enjoy it more.

“I’ve been working hard all through pre-season and every training session, waiting for my opportunity to come and last weekend it came.

“There’s big competition for places in the team which is really good as it naturally makes everyone work harder and be better.”

Meanwhile, Telford football operations manager Luke Shelley has shared his pride at having 3,144 at the New Bucks Head on Tuesday night as England Under-17s beat Brazil 3-1.

“It was a wonderful occasion with so many new faces and families coming to the stadium for the first time,” he said.

“To welcome not only England but such as historic footballing nation in Brazil as well, it really was a memorable night.

“Thank you to those at the FA and all the staff, volunteers and local community who pulled together support such an important event. The crowd was incredible.”

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