AFC Telford United v Needham Market preview: Consistency is the key for Wilkin
Kevin Wilkin believes his Telford side are on the right path to finding a level of consistency that will see them climb up the Southern Central Premier table.
The Bucks didn’t play last weekend due to FA Cup fixtures, giving Kevin Wilkin’s squad some much needed rest after a frantic start to the season.
And despite coming away with no points, Wilkin is keen for his side to build on their most recent performance against league leaders Mickleover.
“The way we managed the ball in the second half against Mickleover is the level we need to work to,” he said. “When we work to the levels we’re capable of working to, we give ourselves a real chance.”
The 2-1 loss was Telford’s first league defeat at New Bucks Head this season, but the home side deserved more from the game.
This weekend’s opponents Needham Market have also had a good start to the season and sit third in the division.
They’re unbeaten since the opening day and progressed in the FA Cup last weekend, but Wilkin is confident his side have what it takes to match them.
“I went to watch them last Saturday, so I understand what they do, they’re a hard-working side with a solid foundation at the back,” Wilkin said
“The game will be however difficult or easy we make it. If we work to the level we did against Mickleover we’d feel very confident, if we work to the level we did against St Ives we wouldn’t.
“We’re searching for a level of consistency from every player in the group and if they do, we’ll be where we want to be.”
Despite the time off, defensive pair Nathan Fox and Fraser Kerr continue to struggle with injuries and won’t be available this weekend.
Wilkin also confirmed they will likely miss the clash with Stourbridge on Tuesday night, but is desperate to have them back as soon as possible.
“We need their quality and understanding in the side,” he admitted. “With those two we become a stronger outfit. Naturally, as a manager, I want to take the field with the best players on it and those two feature in that.”
Talented youngster Ty Webster is still serving suspension for the red card he picked up in the FA Cup defeat, but will return on Tuesday.
Boss Wilkin singled the 18-year-old midfielder out for special praise following some excellent performances in training ever since the incident but will have to live without him for one more game.
The Bucks have trained four times since the Mickleover game, valuable time for Wilkin to work with his new squad.
Needham Market will provide a stern test for the Bucks and, like many opponents who travel to New Bucks Head, will want to raise their game against one of the division’s biggest clubs.
“Clubs come to the stadium, and it puts a spring in their step,” Wilkin said. “It can be a real positive, but it does come with a real challenge as well.
“If we can start to turn the narrow defeats into victories and points we’ll be in and around those play-off areas.”