FA Cup run would be huge for AFC Telford United – Gavin Cowan

Manager Gavin Cowan has emphasised how important knockout competition is to him and AFC Telford United.

Victory in tomorrow’s FA Cup second qualifying round tie against step four Stamford would equal Cowan’s best run in the competition in his fourth season in charge of the club.

The Bucks chief is looking for his side to get back on track after a disappointing 3-1 reverse in the league at Alfreton last weekend. But Telford’s availability woe surrounding Covid, other illness and injury issues are not easing up.

Graham Drury’s side, nicknamed the Daniels, are sixth in the Northern Premier League Midlands after five wins and three defeats from eight games this term. Cowan knows if his side approach the tie correctly they should be too strong, but appreciates knockout football is all about the result.

He said: “The more I’m in the role the more I realise that (winning) is the only thing that matters and that people care about. I want to be a manager that entertains and I think I’ve brought a lot of that here in my time.

“We do have a good style of play and mix of experience, whole-hearted, flair players, but ultimately it’s about results.

“That’s where professionalism, reliability and bravery comes in.

“You have to be ruthless, they’ll want to come and have a good day out off the back of us. I suppose there’s an element of arrogance you’ve got to have when teams like that visit, stamp your authority on them.”

Three of Telford’s four knockout cup matches went to penalties last season. They started with a shootout success at this stage of the FA Cup last October at step four Chasetown, before losing from 12 yards after a goalless draw at Leiston in the next round.

And, in the FA Trophy following a stunning 10-1 drubbing of Coleshill Town in December, the Bucks lost on penalties at league rivals Darlington at the next stage.

Telford’s best in knockout action under Cowan remains the thrilling run to the FA Trophy semi-final against Leyton Orient in his debut season, 2018/19.

Cowan added on the importance of cup football: “It’s huge, we’ve seen it in my time in the FA Trophy. Football supporters are very emotional, going both ways, when things are going well we’re going to win the Champions League and when not then everything is thrown at you.

“I love it when the cup competitions come along, as we experienced in the Trophy, it can bring everyone together, the supporters, the football club, it unites everyone.

“Guys that would potentially not come down ordinarily, it gives us a chance to showcase, we had a big crowd against Orient at home, it gives us a chance to showcase our wonderful resources at the stadium.

“I’ve been really fortunate to have some really good experiences and some poor experiences. But I believe we’ve got it in the dressing room to have a really good run this year.”

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