'You couldn't write it' – AFC Telford boss Gavin Cowan on availability woes ahead of FA Cup opener

Gavin Cowan has summed up AFC Telford's misfortune with availability this season by admitting 'you couldn't make it up'.

New signing Nathan Pond in action on his first Telford appearance. Pic: Kieren Griffiths Photography
New signing Nathan Pond in action on his first Telford appearance. Pic: Kieren Griffiths Photography

The Bucks begin their FA Cup campaign at home to step four Stamford, two divisions below them, tomorrow – but could be without several players.

Nathan Pond and Jed Abbey missed last weekend's defeat at Alfreton having tested positive for Covid-19 and the former has been struggling with subsequent illness, including weight loss. He returned to training last night and will be assessed.

But Telford, meanwhile, have since been hit by other availability issues and, although Cowan does not want to use such blows as an excuse, the boss admits the stop-start season so far has been tough for his troops.

"I won't divulge personnel but what I'll say is you couldn't make it up, you couldn't write it," Cowan said.

"Anybody who knows me knows I'd never seek excuses, but it's been tough, right from Darlington. It's just been lads unwell, sickness, Covid issues, now injuries from nowhere.

"This is being a manager, if you can stay tough and resilient the good times are only around the corner. But we're only four games in and not getting too emotional."

Cowan, whose side are already playing catch-up this season having had two matches postponed, added: "The whole thing has been stop-start for us since the start of the season.

"The reality is there's probably five or six lads who haven't been right since the Blythe game, we got a bout of illness off the back of that.

"We've been missing players and now we've got another issue, not Covid-related but illness and injury-related.

"We're a bit depleted and it seems like everything is thrown at us, but nobody will feel sorry for us, we've got to get a team together to win games."

Northern Premier League Midlands side Stamford have won through against Lincoln United and Redditch United to reach this stage.

The Bucks remain without winger Brendon Daniels (quad) for the second qualifying round tie.

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