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New AFC Telford United signings looking to impress New Bucks Head faithful

Paul Carden left Gateshead encouraged by some of his new faces as AFC Telford United prepare to hand a number of home debuts.

The Bucks chief handed full debuts to Andre Wright, Liam Nolan, Brayden Shaw and Jordan Piggott during Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat at high-flying Gateshead, which marked Telford’s playing comeback following a state of Covid-19 issues.

Telford welcome mid-table Darlington to the New Bucks Head tomorrow for their first home fixture since Boxing Day’s defeat against Chester and Carden is looking forward to seeing what his new recruits can do on home soil in what has so far been a tortuous campaign for fans of the rock-bottom Bucks.

“They’re all big, where we are in the league every game is big, but there are some that are bigger than others because of who it is and where they are,” Carden said of tomorrow’s home clash against a Darlo side in the middle of the National North pack.

“We’ve just got to get right, be positive about it, see that at times on Tuesday night, when we were confident enough to move the ball, we caused Gateshead issues.

“I thought there were some decent performances, Liam Nolan came in and did well, Bakes (Carl Baker) is a good player and has been for years and did well.

“I thought Andre (Wright) did well, Piggo (Piggott) came in and did well. Mace gets his first goal, a great goal, Brayden Shaw showed some nice touches, there were positives to come from it.

“I felt at times when we got the ball to Andre he showed what he could be about, he held it up well, he won flick-ons, he was a handful, that was a positive at the other end of the pitch.”

Carden has carried out some major surgery on the Bucks squad he inherited a couple of months ago. High-profile attackers Elliott Durrell and Kyle Bennett were allowed to leave and have since joined clubs a division below in Grantham and Hednesford. The manager has also allowed young loans to return to parent clubs.

Powerful striker Wright checked in after enjoying a prolific spell in Ireland while combative, rangy former Northern Ireland under-21 midfielder Liam Nolan this week joined on loan from AFC Fylde.

Versatile defender Piggott arrived on loan from Solihull Moors and Carden believes he is a useful option capable of fielding a number of roles, while midfielder or winger Shaw – like Wright before him – earned a deal after impressing on trial in training following a stint in Welsh football.

“It is (big), but as has been proved over the years when sides are down the bottom of the league, you take points wherever they are.” Carden said: “If we can start getting the fans cheering and making noises at home, get that atmosphere back and give them something to cheer and enjoy their weekends – because they won’t have enjoyed many weekends this season.”

Alun Armstrong’s Darlington have faced a daunting run of fixtures of late and their only victory in the last five was a 6-0 hammering at lowly Farsley Celtic. The Blackwell Meadows men could climb to seventh with a win.

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