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Southport v Telford preview: Early days but boss will expect Bucks to hit back

Paul Carden would not have wanted to demand a response from his AFC Telford United players this early in the season.

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

But, given how unhappy he was at how his Bucks side ‘folded’ in the final 20 minutes at home to King’s Lynn last weekend, the boss will be expecting much more this time around.

Carden has reflected and admitted there was not much between the Bucks and the Linnets at the New Bucks Head last time out. There was certainly not four goals difference between the sides in the first hour – but he was concerned about the contest’s ending.

Skipper Matty Brown echoed that Telford ‘capitulated’ late on and stressed that is not an attribute the Bucks intend to show.

Telford head to Southport tomorrow, a club Carden knows well and managed by an individual both the Bucks and their boss know well in Liam Watson, a close friend of the Telford manager and, of course, a former title-winner in Shropshire.

Carden admitted he may well have to look into a change of system to get his side firing more from an attacking sense.

The Bucks used a variant of 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 and, frustratingly, service to lone striker Nathan Blissett was not sufficient. Carden has looked into how to get the powerful frontman more support, both centrally and out wide.

Telford were, of course, hampered by unavailability. The continued absence of fellow striker Jason Oswell has been problematic and means much of the goal burden rests solely with new boy Blissett.

Byron Moore (groin) was absent in defeat at Kettering and against King’s Lynn and his natural width, with Devarn Green on other flank, was missed, with assistant boss Carl Baker forced to fill in.

King’s Lynn remain the only National League North side with a 100 per cent record after four games and, as a relegated National League side to have remained full time, will be fancied as title hopefuls, yet Telford can take some solace from being in a contest for more than half a game.

That doesn’t mean the players were not subjected to some harsh truths in training on Tuesday, where videos were analysed and, hopefully, lessons learned from the late capitulation.

Carden takes his troops to a Southport side who have won two and lost two of their first four games.

The boss said: “There were things in the build-up (to the first King’s Lynn goal) which I wasn’t happy about, and which we addressed on Tuesday (at training).

“We showed the lads a bit of a ‘video nasty’, but it’s important; you can’t let these things slide. I’m not one for showing the Rocky Horror Show but that 20-minute period undid everything we had done.

“There were large parts of that opening hour where you could argue that we were the better team, and had the better chances but haven’t scored.”

Brown, who lives just five minutes from Southport, said of the collapse: “We have to address it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Matty Brown

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