Shropshire Star

St Ives v Telford preview: Wilkin wants Bucks stars to seize their opportunities

Kevin Wilkin has urged his AFC Telford United players to go out and impress him at St Ives Town tomorrow.


The Bucks were knocked out of the FA Cup in the first qualifying round at home to Coalville Town last week, following which boss Wilkin said he would need to ‘shuffle things round’.

Wilkin confirmed the club are looking to bring new players to the New Bucks Head, but will have to rely on those they already have in the short term – giving them the chance to remain a part of his plans.

“If we had the money to buy a fantastic team, we would, but we don’t, so we have to be pragmatic and understand the situation,” Wilkin admitted. “The squad has an opportunity to impress on me and my staff why they deserve to be in the side.

“How much chance and opportunity I give to players is determined by the results that we get – if I need to change things around, I might have to. I might end up having to play certain players I might not want to, but working within a budget that’s what I have to do.”

The Bucks could move into the play-off positions with a victory over St Ives tomorrow – and is determined to bring success to Telford’s fan base, however long it takes.

He said: “We’ve got a fantastic stadium, a fantastic surface and a fantastic fan base, but we’ve not had a fantastic team for a little while now, and that takes a period of time.”

Opponents St Ives sit 19th in the league with one win, two draws and three losses from their opening half a dozen games.

Five games without a win, including an FA Cup exit against Leiston last weekend, mean the pressure is on for the home side to deliver a positive performance and result.

But Wilkin is adamant they are not to be taken lightly.

“Like any side we need to respect what they’re capable of, and if we’re not on our game they will be difficult to overcome,” he said. “Our players need to nail down and own a performance and if they can turn around and be proud of their performance we’ll win the game, but that’s their responsibility.”

Wilkin also highlighted a key issue he’s noticed in his side over recent weeks, particularly in the second halves of games against Halesowen and Coalville.

“Players at this level will have down periods in a game and if you allow those periods to develop into goals, you’ll give yourself a long afternoon,” he said. “There’s no lack of effort or desire within the group, just lapses of concentration.”

The Bucks continue to be hampered by injuries and could be without two more first-teamers this weekend.

With experienced defender Nathan Fox a long-term absentee, Fraser Kerr will also be missing for a period following an injury picked up last week.

And there are doubts around the fitness of midfielder George Forsyth and versatile defender Jordan Piggott.