Brabin is looking forward to ‘feisty’ Bucks clash

A ‘FEISTY’ encounter is in store for the Hatters when they take on AFC Telford United for the first time at the New Bucks Head stadium tomorrow night, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 12th September 2011, 6:49 pm

The well-supported Bucks are sure to be cheered on by a partisan home crowd with Town boss Gary Brabin saying: “Last time I went there was as a player. It was quite feisty that day and I’m expecting it to be that way tomorrow.”

Telford are managed by classy former England winger Andy Sinton and Brabin is expecting a tough test against a side who will play good football and ‘mix it’ at the same time.

He said: “He has got some useful players.

“He does have them playing football but can also mix it a little bit.

“We watched them recently against Southport and they had a bad start but for 75 minutes looked dangerous and were probably unlucky to come away with no points.

“I think they will be a tough, tough side to play. They’ve got a big squad and an ambitious manager.

“It’s a club that’s probably under-achieved in the past few years, had a bit of lot of bad luck, and are probably back to where they think they should be.

“They’ve had some good performances this year and some good results.”

The Hatters had been due to face the Bucks on the opening day of the season, but saw it postponed due to a political march on the same day and the riots that had engulfed England.

But Brabin didn’t feel it would be much different against an AFC side who have started their season with two wins, two draws and three defeats and currently sit 17th in the table.

He said: “It’s swings and roundabouts. It hasn’t happened. Both sides have had enough time to prepare for this game. It’s come round and we will prepare like we do every other games.”

Town will be without new combative midfielder Jamie Hand who picked up his fifth booking of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Darlington.

And Brabin was set to assess his squad today to see who else would be available, saying: “You get your normal knocks and bumps after a game and will train as normal today and see how they react after that.”

But the news on the injury front was good, with Brabin saying: “It’s probably been our best week of news on the injury front. Shane Blackett has been given the all clear to start full time training.

“George Pilkington we are hopeful we have nailed down the problem and he could be training with group in seven days.

“Dan Gleeson has had a scan on his back and we are confident we’ve got to the bottom of that and Freddie Murray has stepped up his training.”

Town, who are unbeaten this season, have also been buoyed by Saturday’s win and their first clean sheet of the season.

Brabin said: “It’s always nice to get three points and it’s always nice to get the win which you want and need if we are to achieve our goal. The manner we won the game I was really pleased with.

“It would be nice if we could turn those draws (earlier in the season) into the wins I thought we deserved. We’ve been making mistakes and I would like to iron them out early doors and hopefully it’s the start of more clean sheets.

“It’s something we’ve prided ourselves on in the past. We’ve had to start all over again a little bit with new players coming in.

“I thought we deserved one until the 93rd-minute in Stockport and had to go one better on Saturday and it can only stand us in good stead.

“We do feel a lot better after keeping a clean sheet on Saturday. I think everyone was delighted. As a goalkeeper and team you do want to keep clean sheets. It is important.

“You do want to win football games, keep clean sheets and have pride in your performance.”

And Brabin believes his side are finally finding their stride in time for another busy spell of fixtures which lie ahead.

He said: “The games come thick and fast but that’s the way we want it. That’s why it’s important we have a good fit squad of players.

“I think it’s just about getting ourselves up to speed and picking up wins. I tend to try and avoid looking at the table too early and concentrate on ourselves.”

Brabin also believes that the clean sheet could prove to be important landmark in their season, and that it’s the little things like that that add up over the course of a campaign.

He said: “I keep going on about little things. For me all those little things do matter.

“It’s no until you’ve achieve your goal and think that’s a turning point. There are so many.

“I think we’ve deserved a clean sheet in certain games, especially the Stockport game. To get one gives everyone some belief and something to build on.”

The performance of new striker Stuart Fleetwood also came as a boost as he combined superbly with the creative Danny Crow.

Brabin said: “I thought his general play was good and he is always looking to get on the shoulder and looked a goal threat all day.

“His movement is really good and thrives in getting in the box.

“Danny Crow is a fantastic finisher of the ball but his main thing is coming deep, getting the ball, and linking things up.”

But he hasn’t given up on improving his squad further during the loan window and admitted he is still on the lookout for player.

Brabin added: “I’m constantly on the lookout for quality players. If I think there’s anyone who is the right character and the right type to improve the side I’m definitely interested.

“I want different types. I know in my head what I want. I don’t always come out and publicise it because look what happened with the centre forward situation.

“I think we’ve definitely been in need of someone of the Stuart Fleetwood type playing on the shoulder and looking for goals.”