Brackley Town v AFC Telford preview: Stick or twist?
AFC Telford United chief Gavin Cowan has a selection headache going into tomorrow’s clash with fellow play-off chasers Brackley Town.
On the back of a 2-1 victory at Spennymoor which sent the Bucks into the FA Trophy quarter-finals, he has to decide whether to stick with that winning XI or not.
Unavailable for that game were top scorer Daniel Udoh, because of suspension, marquee January signing Marcus Dinanga and England Under-19 international goalkeeper Josef Bursik – those two cup-tied.
So does he bring the big-hitters back in at St James Park, or stick with those who valiantly came out on top in County Durham on Tuesday?
Either way, Cowan insists the group will trust his decision, as they see ‘the bigger picture’.
“We’ve said this a few times now, haven’t we? I’ve got decisions to make, and it’s testament to the recruitment in the summer,” he said.
“There are a few players back available and some will end up being a bit disappointed to miss out but, at the end of the day, they know I make these decisions based on the bigger picture.
“We haven’t just got an XI or a squad of 16.
“It’s a whole, united group and everyone has a part to play.”
A great example of that group ethos was striker Andre Brown, who has not been a regular starter since joining from Kidderminster Harriers last summer, coming up with the winner at Brewery Field.
Cowan praised his mental strength to come in and score such an important goal.
“Tuesday night was testament to a few people, but Andre first and foremost,” he said.
“He has got a lot of mental strength – belief in himself.
“He’s aware of his abilities, and he’s stuck at it and came up a the winner for us.
“Andre is a great lad, and I’m one of his biggest fans, we really believe in him as he’s a great player.
“I’ve said to him before that he may not be the best suited to our system, but to trust me as he would always have a role to play.
“And, at the end of the day, it’s not about the people who play every minute of every game these days.
“It’s having that group mentality, knowing you can play a part and come up with the goods at important times, without playing every single week.
“It’s something I’ve said to Andre, and to Adam Dawson, who has since left.
“But it’s about the group, and Andre is one of many who’ve done a great job for us.”
Telford go into the encounter fifth in National League North, while Brackley are sitting sixth.
Udoh and Darryl Knights got their first goals for the club as Cowan’s charges won the reverse fixture 2-1 in August.
Udoh struck in the first half for the Bucks, Knights in the second, while Sheridan Martinez saved a penalty.
Brown, hoping to keep his place after his winner, started up top alongside Udoh that day.
Brendon Daniels could return to the starting XI on the left-hand side for this one, although Henry Cowans did well on Tuesday.