AFC Telford v Guiseley preview: Bucks braced for physical test
In theory, this is a game AFC Telford United should come out on top of.
They are in National League North play-off places while visitors Guiseley are hovering just above the drop zone.
Add in the fact the Lions are on one of the worst runs in the division, seven games without a win, then it is easy to assume the Bucks will grab all three points.
But Gavin Cowan and his Telford charges, who spent yesterday recuperating at Love2Stay, the clinic run by former Shrewsbury physio Chris Skitt, know any victory at this highly competitive level is far easier said than done.
And Guiseley are a side who will put up a fight.
The Bucks thought they had beaten them in the reverse fixture back in August thanks to Andre Brown’s strike, only for the Lions to level right at the end.
They would love to dent Cowan’s charges play-off hopes this time around as well, in turn boosting their survival prospects – following on from relegation from the National League last season. When asked what kind of team Guiseley are, Cowan said: “I wouldn’t say direct, but they’re very physical with big lads.
“They’re very competitive and will want to come and make life very difficult for us. It’ll be difficult to get we want, three points, but that’s the case every week.
“There is always a challenge each week that comes along.”
Telford go into the encounter on the back of a 3-1 loss at fellow play-off contenders Brackley Town at the weekend. The Lions picked up a respectable 1-1 draw with Stockport County – further evidence to suggest this will not be a walk in the park for the Bucks.
Cowan has plenty of players chomping at the bit, looking for an opportunity to impress after a few failed to perform to their usual standards at St James’ Park.
Centre forward Amari Morgan-Smith is one of several who could make a return to the starting XI, but the Telford chief has hinted he will stick with the same team.
“He wasn’t at his best against Spennymoor but, yes, it opens the door for him and others,” added Cowan.
“That being said, the team was right on Saturday.
“It’s just they didn’t put what we wanted into practice, so I might go with the same team. We’ll see.”