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Gavin Cowan: Ryans’ progress good for everyone

AFC Telford manager Gavin Cowan hopes the ‘brilliant relationship’ with neighbours Shrewsbury Town can continue bearing fruit for all parties.

Ryan Sears of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) and Ryan Barnett of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) celebrate after Sears scores to make it 1-0  during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and Kettering at The New Bucks Head on Saturday, March 14, 2020.
Ryan Sears of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) and Ryan Barnett of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) celebrate after Sears scores to make it 1-0 during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and Kettering at The New Bucks Head on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Town youngsters Ryan Barnett and Ryan Sears are the latest to have trodden the short path cross county to the New Bucks Head.

Both were in their second spells as Bucks loanees before the coronavirus lockdown halted progress.

Former Town defender Cowan praised the duo’s mindset and Shrewsbury for allowing them to sample senior football experience.

Winger Barnett, 20, made the switch in November after a hugely impressive season-long loan last time around.

Three goals in 19 appearances this season is an improved return on his return for hometown club Telford last season, where he was a constant supply of goals flying down the wing.

Newtown youngster Sears’ Telford loans have, on both occasions, been short but sweet. Six games in August 2018 were followed by a recall where the defender made his league debut against Bristol Rovers.

“They’re both great lads and I think it shows the brilliant relationship between the two clubs,” Cowan said. “They are lads that have needed game time. What was brilliant was what happened during Searsy’s original loan – you saw what came of it.

“Straight away he got called back. We had the decision whether to let him go, but we did and he made his (league) debut – it was a proud moment for us as much as Searsy, his family and Shrewsbury Town.

“We’ve got a good relationship there. If we can continue doing things like that in the summer then that’s brilliant.”

Sears, who missed the best part of a year with a dreadfully unlucky anterior cruciate ligament injury, made a return to Telford shortly before football ground to a halt, for a chance at vital National League North game time.

He made one appearances, scoring a committed header that rather encapsulates his style.

“They come and buy into what I ask and I would like to think they respect what I’m trying to do, which is why they came back,” Cowan added. “We’re creating a good environment for these young lads and for me it’s a no-brainer for Shrewsbury Town, if they want to see what they’re made of at a brilliant level then we’re down the road. Credit them, at times financially we can’t meet players’ wages and Shrewsbury have seen the bigger picture to get the lads out on loan.

“It’s a good agreement and one they’ve been brilliant with and we’ve played our part.

“Both players have an enormous amount of ability. I thought it was impressive Ryan Sears came out to us on loan (before lockdown) just to get games.

“He had that taste of league football and you see the passion in the game he did play, he was superb.

“Both are really good talents, probably need more game time, that’s for Sam to decide, I’m really impressed with the pair of them.”

Barnett is out of contract at Shrewsbury this summer but could scarcely have shown any more of his jinking ability during successful Bucks spells.

Cowan stresses that consistency is the ultimate target, but insisted that the Salop flyer has the mentality to achieve a career in the game.

“There’s no doubt about ability and Ryan understands now consistency is a massive thing. He needs to be able to mix up his game,” said the boss. “He can be unplayable, I don’t care what the level is, but there has to be consistency.

“In League One that’s what you expect, if not you lose your place quickly and then your contract.

“There’s so much promise there. He wants to do well and learn. He’s got improving to do and it will come with age, he has the right mentality.”

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