Shropshire Star

Long Eaton v Telford: Bucks set their sights on capturing runners-up spot

With a play-off spot secured with three games to spare, AFC Telford United have set their sights on overtaking second-placed Mickleover.


The Bucks travel to already-relegated Long Eaton United knowing a win would secure a top-three finish, and therefore a play-off semi-final at New Bucks Head. And while tomorrow’s game is a good opportunity for Telford to record an eye-catching win, manager Kevin Wilkin is solely focused on getting the win by any means necessary.

“We need to win this game and it’s still our intention to finish as high as we possibly can,” he said. “That’s my focus at the moment.

“For me it’s not about making any sort of statements, we just need to win the game and get through to the next with everybody fit.

“There’s still a bit of football to be played before we know where we’re going to finish.”

On paper, a trip to a side who have picked up just 19 points this season should be a comfortable one for a Telford side in scintillating form.

However, recent games at strugglers AFC Sudbury and Hitchin Town have shown there is no room for complacency.

“We’ve experienced a team in the bottom reaches beating us on their own patch, and hopefully that’s not what we experience on Saturday,” Wilkin added.

“We struggled on both Sudbury and Hitchin’s pitches, so I don’t think it’s any coincidence that when we play at home on a flat surface we manage the ball better than our opposition.”

He added: “These are the challenges with going away from home. You have to play on surfaces that you’re not quite used to and can make things more difficult.”

Wilkin also conceded that he is not entirely sure what to expect from a side who no longer have anything to play for.

“They’re a little bit in their comfort zone now, and whether (relegation) frees any of their players up I don’t know, we can only second guess that situation,” he admitted. “More importantly I worry about what we can do and how we go about our business.”

The Bucks boss added: “We need to show humility and make sure we approach things in the right way, because it’s important not to take things for granted in any game.

“I want to find momentum and keep that momentum going as long as we possibly can, so it’s not my intention to change things around massively.”

Wilkin continued: “Someone showed me a form table of the last 25 games, and I think us and Needham Market are neck-and-neck during that time.

“That’s kind of nice, but it’s a shame we weren’t able to push them right the way through until the end of the season.”