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Telford v Boston: Carden stresses Bucks' season has to start now

Paul Carden believes AFC Telford United must go back to basics to climb out of the mire.

Nathan Blissett (16) (AFC Telford United Striker) running through midfield (Pic: Kieren Griffin Photography).
Nathan Blissett (16) (AFC Telford United Striker) running through midfield (Pic: Kieren Griffin Photography).

The struggling Bucks return to National League North action with both the squad and boss desperate for some respite following the home FA Cup disaster to step four Chasetown last weekend.

Carden has come under heavy fire from fans, with league form ahead of the Cup failure reading a single win from eight so far this term. Tomorrow feels like a crucial fixture in the manager’s tenure as second-bottom Telford welcome Boston, who are 21st with an identical record.

Telford took some confidence from a midweek behind-closed-doors friendly success over Market Drayton Town and Carden admits recent failings have been down to him asking too much of his troops to play in a certain style in a bid to turn early-season draws into wins.

“In searching for a winning formula on the back of drawing a few we should win – I’ve probably made us more open and susceptible to risk in certain areas by wanting us to pass it out from the back,” said Carden, who admitted last weekend’s FA Cup humiliation was the worst he’d felt in a 26-year football career including Wembley play-off defeats.

“One mistake and we’ve been found out. It’s a case of us being back to basics, reducing the risk and put more onus on asking questions of opponents rather than trying to find a way through by passing and making sure everything’s perfect.

“We need to ask more questions because that’s all teams are doing of us at times. Through our own play we’ve been too open, that’s been our undoing a lot of the time.

“That’s on me because I instructed the team so I’ll never shirk that responsibility or fault. We’ll be changing it.”

Carden continued: “We’re eight games in, 38 games to play, 114 points to play for so we have to look at it like our season starts now.

“I came into the club and our first league game was December 11, 2021 and we had nine points, we stayed up, did well, started the season OK, I think people were quite pleased.

“We knew we could do better and in searching to be better we probably undone what made us tough and hard to break down. We need to get back to that and give ourselves a better chance by staying in the game and put more emphasis on asking more questions of opposition with more energy and direction.”

Carden alluded to a couple of more encouraging displays and clean sheets to start the season. He also feels summer signing Nathan Blissett can make the difference if the team plays to his strengths.

“In the last couple of games it’s been a different Nathan Blissett, he’s scored a goal and come on against Gloucester and done well,” said the manager. “We do need another option because he’s the only fit forward we’ve got while Ossie’s (Jason Oswell) out.

“We need to play to Bliss’s strengths a lot more, we need to put the ball into the box, he’s scored from a cross last Saturday. There’s where we’ve got to use him.

“He hasn’t become a bad player overnight, we’ve got to use what he’s got, play to his strengths and put square pegs in square holes to be harder to beat.

“We had a behind-closed-doors game against Market Drayton with a good attitude shown, good goals and a good performance, we need to take that attitude to the weekend.”

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