FA Cup preview: Telford facing tough test against league rivals Coalville
AFC Telford are preparing for their first FA Cup first round qualifier in more than a decade, as they welcome Coalville Town to the New Bucks Head.
Kevin Wilkin’s side have had a decent start to the season, picking up two victories, two draws and two defeats in their opening six league games.
At home they’ve been strong, yet to concede and netting 10 goals; three to beat Royston Town on the opening day and seven in the thrashing of Nuneaton Borough.
Opponents Coalville sit 10th in the Southern Central Premier, a place above Bucks. They have won three and lost three so far, with a remarkable 31 goals being scored in their first half a dozen games – 15 for and 16 against.
Wilkin admitted a draw against a divisional rival wasn’t what he was hoping for in the Cup: “You hope a home draw is favourable, you’d like lesser league opposition, if at all possible, but that may be being a bit greedy.”
He continued: “It could’ve been worse, we could’ve been away from home. It should be a fair test for us and hopefully one we can give a good account of ourselves in.”
Wilkin believes Coalville’s run of strong league finishes makes them a difficult prospect for a side like his who are still finding their feet at a new level.
“I watched Coalville on several occasions last season and the season previous, when they were in the play-offs. They’ve got that bit of continuity and consistency about the club.”
Wilkin added: “They’re going to be in and around it, they’ve got lots of good players there who are seasoned campaigners at this level and have gone mightily close on a couple of occasions to getting promoted.”
Coalville finished second in the league last season, missing out on top spot on goal difference to Tamworth, before losing in the play-offs to Rushall Olympic.
Traditionally the FA Cup has been a competition for breakthrough stars and several Telford youngsters are in the running for a start this weekend.
Ty Webster and Steffan Jones, both 18, have both impressed this season, with the former scoring his first goal for the club in the 7-0 win over Nuneaton Borough.
Wilkin was keen to explain his ambitions to integrate youth into his first-team squad, and with several key players an injury risk ahead of the weekend some could get a look in.
Full-back Nathan Fox and midfielders Byron Moore and Remi Walker have all been dealing with hamstring injuries for the past few weeks, although the Bucks are hopeful at least one of them will be fit for this game.
Walker was due to train last night and, on Fox and Moore, Wilkin said: “They’ve definitely been two of our most consistent performers prior to their injuries, to take them out was a challenge.”
He continued: “ I’m not sure we’ll have Nathan this weekend, but we’ll check on Byron to see where he’s at.”