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AFC Telford boss Gavin Cowan pleased to see Jon Royle adding goals

Boss Gavin Cowan insists Jon Royle is proving he has what it takes to be AFC Telford United’s midfield dynamo.

Jon Royle celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and Southport
Jon Royle celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and Southport

Royle scored his first National League North goal of the season as the Bucks beat his old club Southport 4-0 at the weekend.

The 24-year-old Welshman – the club’s longest-serving current player – is known more for his defensive work, but Cowan hopes he can continue to offer a goal threat as they push for the play-offs.

“We ask him to play a lot further forward, more so when we’re out of possession in the press,” he said.

“We ask him to do that and we saw the fruition of that on Saturday in possession.

“It’s great to see him really committing to what we’re asking him to do.

“His performances this season tell you – like I said at the start of the season – he’s got all the attributes.

“I just wanted him to play a certain style and he’s done that.

“He’s trusted me and he deserves all the credit.”

Royle originally joined Telford on loan from Southport in September 2016, with the deal being made permanent a few months later.

He has played under three different Bucks managers – Rob Smith, Rob Edwards and Cowan, who he has found a new lease of life under.

Another who continues to impress under Cowan is defender Ross White.

Also formerly of the Sandgrounders, he played an important role as Telford kept a clean sheet at Haig Avenue.

And Cowan said: “Ross is really coming into his own.

“He’s buying into our footballing philosophy and really reaping the benefits. He’s solid as a rock.”

Cowan, as a former defender, was delighted with his side’s defensive display in the win over former Bucks chief Liam Watson’s team.

Telford are fifth in the table, having conceded 32 goals in 27 games.

“That’s defenders, they’re the unsung heroes,” added Cowan.

“I just thought they were absolutely colossal.

“We told them they would have to be colossal against Southport’s strikeforce – big, strong lads who are a handful and try to make your lives difficult.

“And they were brave as well, playing a footballing game out from the back, which we don’t normally do.

“They were so brave and courageous. They just trusted me.

“We alleviated that pressure as I told them if they made a mistake, it was my fault, not theirs.”

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