Boston United v AFC Telford: Gavin Cowan expecting Pilgrims to be fired up for return

Gavin Cowan expects an eager Boston United to be refreshed and chomping at the bit ahead of their return to action.

Telford manager Gavin Cowan
Telford manager Gavin Cowan

AFC Telford United head to east Lincolnshire tomorrow to tackle the Pilgrims in what is the hosts’ first fixture following a fortnight off after positive tests for Covid-19, writes Lewis Cox.

Cowan’s in-form Bucks face another test of their credentials this season at the home of the side who reached the National League North play-off final when the division was concluded in July.

Boston lost out narrowly to Altrincham and will provide the latest stern test in what has been a difficult yet rewarding start for Telford, who sit second after notable scalps against Brackley and Gateshead already.

And Cowan is not expecting a sluggish approach from Craig Elliott’s hosts, who last played on October 6 – a 4-0 win in their one and only league game so far.

Asked if Boston’s period of isolation affects his plans and preparation, Cowan said: “No, not really. They are a very strong team, a big team.

“I imagine their professionalism will be that individually they’ve been working hard away from training and the club.

“I anticipate they’ll be chomping at the bit. That’s what I take from it. I can’t imagine it’ll hinder them in any way. They’ll be nice and rested.

“They had a great season last year and are a very competitive group. I enjoy going up against them, it’ll be interesting to see how we get on with this new group of players we’ve got going in the right direction ourselves.”

Boston are hoping to squeeze in a training sessions after completing their isolation ahead of tomorrow’s clash.

Elliott’s side had to withdraw from the FA Cup and also postponed two league fixtures.

They could face a total of nine games in 29 days to make up for it, but the Pilgrims chief does not want to hear about excuses.

“I have said to the players, we have to prepare ourselves for things we’ve never experienced before,” Elliott said.

“I messaged them this week explaining that this was exactly what I was talking about, there’ll be things out of our control and what we have got to do is not use things as excuses.

“This last fortnight, players have been sat at home doing nothing and it’s going to be difficult coming back and hitting the ground running again.

“We have to. There’s no moping around or using this as an excuse, we have to get on with it.”

Cowan, meanwhile, must contend without giant centre-half Courtney Meppen-Walters, who missed the trip with the hamstring injury sustained in last weekend’s win over Gateshead.

Brendon Daniels is nearing a return, the left-sided player keen to make up for lost time having limped out of the season curtain-raiser at Chasetown in the FA Cup. Defender Ross White is likely to step in for Meppen-Walters.

For Cowan’s side it’s a third league clash from four against sides who contested the play-offs last season.

“You have to play everyone twice but when everyone was excited at the fixtures coming out I realised straight away it was an incredibly tough start,” Cowan said.

“We’re really pleased with the way it’s gone.

“We feel like we should’ve taken the three points against Blyth, we only had ourselves to blame that day.

“But it was in our control, that’s the only consolation, if it wasn’t we’d be asking serious questions.

“They (Boston) were very strong last year and very close to promotion and they’ll feel like they’ve improved. I’m excited about every game.”

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