Preview – Southport (Home)
The Bucks kick off the new campaign against Liam Watson’s Sandgrounders
AFC Telford United vs Southport
National League North
Saturday 4th August 2018, 3pm kick off
The curtain comes up on another National League North campaign this Saturday, as Telford start the season with game against Southport at the New Bucks Head.
The two sides last met in March, when the Sandgrounders won 3-0 at their Haig Avenue home. Since then though, there have been significant changes at both clubs, with new managers in each of the respective dugouts.
After that springtime success over the Bucks, Port subsequently slumped to eight defeats in their final nine league games. That poor run of form led to boss Kevin Davies being given the boot, and Liam Watson returned for a third full spell in charge of the Merseysiders.
Watson has won the National League North more than any other manager, having claimed the crown on three previous occasions – most recently, of course, with the Bucks in 2014. The other two titles came with Southport though, and the Port boss will hope his team can push for promotion once again this season.
The Sandgrounders finished 15th last season – three points and a place below the Bucks – but boast a forward line that suggests they could challenge toward the top end of the table this term. The league’s top scorer last season, Jason Gilchrist, bagged 31 goals across all competitions (including 15 for FC United), while Port have added more pace and power to their attack this summer with the signing of former Telford favourite Mike Phenix.
The Bucks, meanwhile, appointed Gavin Cowan as boss after Rob Edwards left the club in May. Cowan has quickly gone about adding a blend of youth and experience to his squad with some carefully considered signings. Among the new faces are previous league winners Darryl Knights and Theo Streete, playmaker James McQuilkin and exciting young forwards Andre Brown and Danny Udoh.
Cowan's men have looked good in preseason, collecting five wins and notching 20 goals in eight games. The Bucks boss will want his side to carry that promising form into the new season, beginning with this Saturday’s home game against Southport.
AFC Telford United
Preseason form: W5, D0, L3 (inc. SSC)
Last season’s league position: 14th
Last season’s top scorer: Marcus Dinanga (25)
Preseason form: W4, D2, L0
Last season’s league position: 15th
Last season’s top scorer: Jason Gilchrist (31 – 15 for FC United)