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Paul Carden demands high AFC Telford standards

AFC Telford United manager Paul Carden reminded his team there is still work to be done as they prepare to kick off their season this weekend.

Paul Carden the head coach / manager of AFC Telford United.
Paul Carden the head coach / manager of AFC Telford United.

Carden was generally happy with what he saw as the Bucks signed off their pre-season campaign with a 2-2 draw against National League contenders Solihull Moors on Saturday.

The boss feels his team are looking promising ahead of their National League North opener, at home to Chorley on Saturday, but made no apologies for highlighting his team’s shortcomings in their pre-season fixtures.

“I’m always going to be critical, because we’re not just going to accept sub-standard or below par performances when we’ve got good players,” he said. “We showed on Saturday that we’re more than capable – Solihull are a good side, they’ve been put together over the last three-four years to compete in that division and in the Football League, once they get out of that division.

“We went toe-to-toe with them. We’ve had lapses of concentration but we’ve exposed them and caused them a lot of problems. I go on about the team playing to their strengths, and to one another’s strengths, and we did that for big periods.”

The Bucks trailed early on to an Andrew Dallas goal in a game played behind closed doors at Wolves’ Compton training facility.

They responded positively but fell a further goal behind when Dallas struck again close to half-time.

“After the first goal, it kind of woke us up, and I thought we played some really good stuff, said Carden, “I was disappointed with that (the second goal), because we’d responded well to the first goal, but it was a little lapse of concentration that you’ll get punished for against good teams.”

From 2-0 down the Bucks produced a second half fightback and goals from Byron Moore and Harry Flowers secured a creditable draw against a team tipped to go close to promotion once again.

“In the second half we came out and I felt we really put it on them,” added Carden. “In the first 15-20 minutes of the second half, we played some really good stuff.

“We looked strong, got a well-taken goal from a good move and got ourselves back into the game and pushed on from there.

“We got a deserved equaliser and then still continued to play some good stuff, but we played more from our shape, which was better.”

Right-back Josh Dugmore limped out of the game at half-time after feeling his calf muscle tighten, while Prince Ekpolo didn’t last the entire game with a hamstring concern.

Matty Brown and Jason Oswell missed the game with injury, but Carden was confident he’ll have an almost full squad to select from on Saturday: “Browny’s missed a couple now, but he’ll be fine. Josh will see [sports therapist] Adam (Paget)... and Prince says it’s just a bit of tightness, nothing more.”

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