In many ways, the situation faced by the Kiwis was a reminder to those connected to AFC Telford United of just how cruel sport can sometimes be. Having been heavily involved in the Vanarama National League North play-off race for much of the campaign, the Bucks fell short on the final day due to goal difference.
But boss Gavin Cowan is never one to dwell on the negatives. After all, he was a part of Solihull Moors’ squad three years ago who were crowned champions of this very division.
Preparation is already underway at New Bucks Head. The aims are orientated around bridging that minute gap between themselves and the top seven.
Cowan said: “We’ll never stand still. I’ll always remain at the Club as long as we’re improving in all aspects on a day-to-day basis, with long-term ambitions.
“The desire is to be better and that’s what I challenge the players to do in every training session and every match”.
Despite losing three out of four games in pre-season so far- all three defeats coming against higher level opposition- Cowan maintains his ethos of “Trust the Process”, which played a crucial role in galvanising the Club and support base last term.
He added: “We’re getting the work outs we need to. From a fitness perspective, it’s all going to plan.
“There’s a lot to work on, but that’s something we envisaged. We’re comfortable with where we are and where the group is.
“These last two matches have been extremely useful. We’ve tried new formations and can now go away and analyse our work of transferring information from training into our match play. It’s a big part of what we do and we’ll sit with the players and go through our findings, which is hugely beneficial for all concerned.
“It’s a case of refreshing the group from what we achieved last year, then ensuring once we get to Kettering Town away (first match of the League season), we have surpassed that”.
Replacing the goals of striker Daniel Udoh- who left to join League One neighbours Shrewsbury Town- was always going to be a tough task.
But Cowan managed to secure the signing of a frontman at the top of his wish list, the much sought-after Aaron Williams (image above).
The Bucks have also drafted in Adam Walker and Chris Lait to add more experience in midfield.
“We’re fortunate to have recruited the three boys we have brought in,” the Telford boss admitted.
“They’re still getting to grips with how we do things at the moment. We’re very strategic in our play, both in an out of possession. It’s going to take a bit of time to get used to it but, once they do, that’s when we’ll see the best of them.
“We’ll all be ready for those busy first two months of the season, once pre-season comes to an end”.