Altrincham v AFC Telford: Theo back at the heart of Bucks XI
AFC Telford United are set to have an important presence back in the side at Altrincham tomorrow.
Experienced defender Theo Streete is available again for the Bucks after missing last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to table-toppers Bradford Park Avenue through suspension, writes Joe Edwards.
And while his absence was not strictly the reason Gavin Cowan’s side fell to their first home defeat of the season – it was because Avenue took their chances, and Telford did not – his knowhow was missed.
Cowan felt his players fell below their usual standards and has challenged them to come up with a wholehearted response at Moss Lane – and you cannot help but feel Streete, a close confidant of the Bucks chief, could be the key to doing just that.
But beating the Robins is something a lot of teams have tried, and failed, to do as of late.
After being promoted back to National League North at the first attempt, they have turned a lot of heads by rising to fourth – ahead of Telford on goal difference, having played a game less.
They are on a seven-match unbeaten run in the league, winning six of those.
And most concerning to the Bucks is the fact Altrincham have been finding the net freely on home soil.
In their last outing there, they disposed of York City 3-0.
That followed 3-1, 3-0 and 4-0 successes over Alfreton Town, Ashton United and Nuneaton Town respectively.
Jordan Hulme, who has scored 10 goals in 16 league appearances, is the one to watch for them, while a task for Telford is getting their leading scorer Daniel Udoh back on the goal trail following a fairly surprising run of just one strike in eight matches.
And Cowan hinted after the Avenue loss, with the arrivals of wingers Brendon Daniels and Yusifu Ceesay on loan from Port Vale and Blackpool respectively, that a change in formation could be on the cards.
The Bucks started with their usual 3-5-2 against the league leaders, but changed to a 4-4-2 diamond towards the end as they chased for an equaliser.
That system may well the best way to include set-piece specialist Daniels, who will be keen to impress after a short loan spell with the Robins earlier this term, while the speedy Ceesay has the potential to be an impact sub.
Shrewsbury loanee Ryan Barnett boosted his chances of getting a start with a lively 30-minute showing against Avenue, while Henry Cowans was given the sponsor’s man-of-the-match award so is expected to keep his place.
Telford have no injury worries ahead of the encounter.
The only one who is ruled out is left-sided defender Steph Morley, who is serving the last of a two-game ban for dissent – picked up in the 2-0 FA Trophy win at Darlington.