Shropshire Star

AFC Telford United hoping play-off picture will become clear

AFC Telford United boss Kevin Wilkin has urged football administrators to clear up the uncertainty surrounding the Southern Central Premier play-offs.


Bucks know they have a home play-off semi-final on Wednesday, May 1, but the opposition remains a mystery after third-placed Mickleover appealed against their 12-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.

The Derbyshire outfit could still qualify, even if their appeal is rejected, after beating newly-crowned champions Needham Market 2-0 on Saturday but would need results to go their way on the final day on Saturday.

Wilkin was phlegmatic about the situation, feeling it was “none of his business”, but he wants things cleared up ahead of the final weekend of the regular season.

“The one thing that I would say is the powers that be can get it resolved as quickly as possible," he said. "Whoever it is, and wherever you sit within it, it's really, really important that it is resolved quickly and people can see a clear path ahead.

"That’s muddied a little bit at the moment and it's just really important for everybody that we can get over this and move on and let football be the winner.”

With Bucks having qualified weeks ago, and with a home semi-final in the bag, the boss was able to make plenty of changes for Saturday's 6-2 victory over Berkhamsted, and could have that luxury again against Coalville Town on the final day of the regular season on Saturday.

“It's nice that we can rotate the squad around a little bit and give players there some minutes on the field and get some minutes into certain players that haven't had so many lately,” he said.

Goalkeeper Brandon Hall returned after injury and Wilkin rested defenders Ellis Myles and Orrin Pendley and midfielder Remi Walker.

Still, the depth of the squad Wilkin has now assembled meant no discernible drop-off in performance: “I'm glad it's panned out OK.

"I'm not one that generally makes drastic changes within the group, and when a group is doing as well as we have, I’m obviously reluctant to change things around too much, as it’s nice to keep that bit of momentum.

"Certainly, the lads that went into the team have done very well. The lads that have come out have had a bit of a break and we've got probably as strong a bench there as I've had in my time here, so it's a pleasing afternoon.

"It's great that we've won the game and people go away happy again.”

Pendley was the big winner at the club’s seasonal awards evening, held after the game on Saturday, collecting three prizes – players’ player of the season, manager’s player of the season and supporters’ player of the season.

Walker likewise collected the young player of the season award, recognition for a season where the 21-year-old playmaker has matured immeasurably, both physically and mentally, after the heartache of being released by Birmingham City last summer.

The absence of both from the team suggests they are players that Wilkin sees as key to the club’s play-off ambitions, and both would likely be some of the first names on Wilkin’s retained list, although their performances will mean both have suitors.