Stourbridge v AFC Telford United: Kevin Wilkin looking for Bucks to bounce straight back
AFC Telford United travel to Stourbridge this evening looking to right the wrongs of the weekend’s performance, writes Dan Stacey.
The Bucks went down 2-0 at home to Needham Market on Saturday afternoon, their fourth defeat in six games across all competitions.
And with a local derby of sorts on the horizon, Bucks boss Kevin Wilkin is expecting a much-improved performance from his side this evening.
“I expect a reaction, I expect a little more edge to our play and some more urgency and desire,” he said. “It takes time for teams to settle down and develop, but it might be that I need to change some personnel around.
“It’s a new group and that’s evident, it’ll take more games for me to continue to learn about them and do something about it.”
Telford fell behind early on to Needham Market and could not recover from the early setback.
They conceded a second shortly before half-time and a lacklustre showing in the second half meant the away side left with all three points.
A frustrated Wilkin highlighted a key area of concern from the weekend’s game as a lack of effort from some of his forward players.
And combined with what the Bucks boss described as ‘a real lack of experience’, Telford were struggling from the get-go.
“I know what I saw on Saturday was wide of the mark,” Wilkin admitted. “There are two sides to the game, in possession and out of possession, and you need to work equally hard at them.
“We’ve got players who just haven’t got the knowhow in those situations, they don’t have the experience to see tough moments out and allow us to grow into the game.”
One player who does possess the knowhow and experience that Wilkin’s side is craving is left-back Nathan Fox, who returned to the squad against Needham Market. Fox was an unused substitute for Wilkin’s side, and his manager remains cautious about giving him game time just yet.
“We could’ve given him 45 minutes but I’m reluctant to throw him in just yet,” explained Wilkin. “We need to get a training session under Nathan’s belt before we can bring him in with real confidence.
“But it’s good to have him back involved with the matchday squad, and I have no doubt that once he and Fraser (Kerr) are available they will make a big difference to us.”
One returning face for Bucks will be talented midfielder Ty Webster, who has served his suspension and is back available for selection.
And his manager is delighted to have him back in contention, saying: “Having a player of Ty’s quality back will give everyone a boost.”
Opponents Stourbridge have lost three games on the spin and had first choice keeper Charlie Price sent off at the weekend.
Despite that Wilkin is still anticipating a tough challenge for his side.
“Stourbridge are a robust side who’ve got experience at the level,” he said. “They’ve got good players in their ranks; they had a solid season last year and have that basis on which to build from.
“It will be a tough game no doubt about that.”
Elsewhere, Telford have been drawn away at Quorn in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy.