Depleted AFC Telford squad battling an injury crisis

AFC Telford United are battling an injury crisis as they potentially face losing six first-team players for the clash with Guiseley tomorrow.

Injured: Courtney Meppen Walters
Injured: Courtney Meppen Walters

Courtney Meppen-Walters and Brendon Daniels have both been missing recently with hamstring strains, while Henry Cowans and Shane Sutton are out with a quad injury and broken toe respectively.

Alongside Andy Bond, who is suspended following his two yellow cards in the win over Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, all five of them will be unavailable for tomorrow’s game.

Jack Byrne withdrew at half-time in the win over Bradford with a hamstring injury and although there is some hope he may be fit, it is still unlikely.

“We’re waiting to hear on Jack Byrne but it’s very, very unlikely,” manager Gavin Cowan said.

“We are depleted again. It’s important that people understand that we have a small squad, so to have five first-team players out, potentially six, is pretty devastating.

“It’s all hands on deck at the moment and we have to play the cards we’re dealt.”

If the midfielder is unavailable, it will mean a total of six important players will miss out in what is already a small squad.

Despite the struggles with squad fitness, Cowan believes that his team’s ability to overcome these challenges could mean luck will swing in their favour soon.

“We’re trying to improve all the time and we are a new group really,” he added.

“When you look at the changes from last year, it was a big chunk of players.

“I feel that the tide may be turning now from having numerous injuries, suspensions – anything that could go wrong for us in games.

“We could be on the verge of something changing, maybe that’s my own optimism.

“There’s a really good feeling among the lads and they want to kick on and not be so much of a yo-yo team in terms of results.

“We want back-to-back wins come Saturday and to try and kick on from there.”

In Guiseley, the Bucks face an opponent finding form hard to come by.

Despite having experience playing at the National League level – last featuring there in the 2017/18 season – the Yorkshire outfit have failed to live up to expectations this year.

After beating Blyth Spartans 4-0 on the opening day of the current season, Guiseley have failed to win in their five league games since – drawing two and losing three.

They arrive at Telford tomorrow after fighting back for a 1-1 draw at Kettering Town on Tuesday night.

Although Cowan believes his opponents will improve as the season goes on, he also believes clubs facing Telford will up their game.

When asked if he was surprised to see them struggling, Cowan said: “You say struggling and I suppose in terms of results, absolutely.

“This league is very fine lines. Their games could have gone either way.

“It’s very early days and you’ll see people at the top start to fall off. You’ll see people at the bottom start to motor on.

“It’s very early and I haven’t seen a team go out and wipe the floor with another side. It’s all very close.

“They’ll be looking to get to winning ways, they are a good side.

“We have to understand that when people come to our ground, with our lovely pitch now, they put 25, 30 per cent on top of their performance.

“They’re playing against AFC Telford United, we’re renowned for being a big club at this level.

“Players find more in their game and we have to be prepared for that.”

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