Telford v Kettering - Match preview
Kevin Wilkin has called for his AFC Telford United squad to find a ruthless edge ahead of their upcoming play-off chase.
Despite enjoying a run of one defeat in 19 games Telford find themselves outside the Southern Central Premier play-off places in sixth place.
And with eight draws coming in that unbeaten run, the Bucks boss admitted his side cannot afford that many stalemates in the final 14 matches, starting with Saturday’s clash with Kettering Town.
“We’ve drawn more games than I’m comfortable with, and in nearly all of those games I think we’ve done enough to win,” Wilkin said. “We certainly haven’t been settling for drawing games and as it has been all season the intention will be to turn those into wins.”
He added: “I look at the Royston game as a couple of points that we’ve dropped, especially when you look at how tight it is in and around the play-off places.
“We’ve definitely got to stay up to our work and make sure we come through games with three points.”
The Bucks looked set to pick up a much-needed win on Tuesday night at Royston Town, leading 2-0 with five minutes left.
But 85th and 96th-minute goals from the hosts sent Telford back to Shropshire with a solitary point, and Wilkin did not hide his frustration at seeing two points slip away.
“We got ourselves in a fantastic situation and it was just the matter of scoring the third goal to put the game to bed,” he said. “We weren’t resting on the two-goal lead, but to go so late into the game without giving them any moments, and then to concede two in the manner that we did is disappointing.
“Emotions were high after the game; I was very disappointed with it and the players heard that.”
Saturday offers Telford the chance to make it back-to-back home wins, with relegation-threatened Kettering Town visiting New Bucks Head. The Poppies boast a squad with several notable players, including former Shrewsbury Town pair Kelvin Langmead and Rhys Sharpe, as well as ex-Premier League midfielder Bruno Andrade.
A familiar face will be returning to New Bucks Head too, loanee centre midfielder George Forsyth, who is spending the rest of the season at Latimer Park.
Despite having a strong squad on paper, Kettering find themselves hovering above the relegation zone in 18th place, although Kevin Wilkin is not expecting an easy afternoon for the Bucks.
“They’ve got some good players there, which for whatever reason aren’t quite clicking at the moment,” he said. “We won’t be underestimating them, there are players there that have had good careers so I’m not expecting it to be easy.
“Like every team that comes to new Bucks Head they’ll be lifted by the stadium, and we’ve got to prove again that we can deal with that and play our own game to the best of our ability.”
Wilkin also revealed he expects to be without Reece Styche and Sam Whittall this weekend, but did suggest Matty Stenson is closer to a return to fitness.