Telford v Royston preview: New-look Bucks excited to start their fightback
AFC Telford United boss Kevin Wilkin says it is hard not get to get excited for the new season – which begins this weekend.
His side takes on Royston Town in Shropshire tomorrow as their Southern Central Premier campaign kicks off.
Much has changed at the New Bucks Head since the end of last season, where they were relegated out of the National League North.
Only three players – Jordan Piggott, Brad Bood and Byron Moore – have stayed on with Telford with the rest of the players all moving elsewhere.
It means Wilkin has had a whole pre-season with his new-look squad as they prepare for their opening clash of the season and he wants his team to hit the ground running.
He said: “Any team wants to get their season up and running as quickly as they can. That is no different here, the lads have worked hard through the closed season.
“It will be really good to try and get everyone to the start line on Saturday and almost have a full hand to select from. Never do you start the season not excited about what lies ahead and hopefully about what you are going to grow into.
“I am really looking forward to it, it will be a good challenge and one we are really looking forward to.”
The boss does have a few minor injury concerns ahead of the clash. Fraser Kerr came out of last weekend’s final pre-season fixture with Kidderminster with a niggle – as did Remi Walker. George Forsyth, another summer recruit from Kettering Town, also has a tight groin.
Jared Hodgkiss has had an issue with his hip flexor during pre-season which has limited his minutes but he is the only Bucks player unlikely to feature. Telford will be looking to get back into the National League North at the first time of asking, but Wilkin is more than aware of the challenge, suggesting it will not be easy.
“I will not be taking anything for granted,” Wilkin said when asked about the prospect of promotion. “You look at some of the teams in this league, Kettering finished above us last season.
“There are good teams with momentum like Nuneaton and Coalville and that is to name just a few so like any level it is tremendously competitive.
“I am pleased with our attitude and our application so far, that now needs to be transferred to winning games and achieving in games.
“Again you can get bumps along the road, you can get injuries and bad referring decisions it is all part of the game and it can stunt your progress.
“But I think as we start to move forward and as we start to spend more time together then hopefully we become more progressive and those behaviours become commonplace and are productive.”
It is set to be a big season for the Bucks, Wilkin has expressed his frustrations at not being able to land targets this summer – only time will tell if they have enough to achieve their goals.