AFC Telford: Welling league game is more important than FA Cup tie

Ashton Gate, home of Bristol City Football Club since 1904
Steve Cotterill's Bristol City have lost just twice in 19 League One matches this season

AFC Telford United manager Liam Watson says that Sunday's FA Cup second round tie at League One leaders Bristol City does not compare with next Tuesday's Conference date with Welling United.

Non-league Telford's proud Cup history invariably gets the pulse racing when they are paired with league opposition.

But Watson is enough of a realist to know that his side's precarious league position is more of a concern.

"Welling is a far bigger game than Bristol City," he told BBC Sport.

"That's the way I look at it. Tuesday's a huge game for us at Welling."

Telford's Cup second-round record:
1970-71 Lost 6-2 at Swansea1972-73 Lost 5-0 to Chelmsford City1982-83 Lost 2-1 to Tranmere Rovers in replay1983-84 Beat Northampton Town 3-2 in replay, also beating Rochdale before losing to Derby County in fourth round1984-85 Beat Preston 4-1 at Deepdale, also beating Bradford City and Darlington before a 3-0 fifth round defeat at Cup holders Everton1985-86 Lost 6-1 at Derby County1986-87 Beat Altrincham 1-0 before losing 2-1 in the third round at home to Leeds United1991-92 Lost 1-0 at Wrexham1993-94 Lost 1-0 to Huddersfield in replay 1995-96 Lost 2-0 at home to Notts County 1998-99 Lost 2-0 at home to Cambridge United 2003-04 Beat Brentford 3-0, also beating Crewe before losing 2-0 in the fourth round at home to Millwall

The club will be making their first appearance at this stage of the competition since AFC Telford were reformed following the old Telford United's demise in 2004.

"Bristol City will be a great game for us," he told BBC Radio Shropshire. "You never know what can happen in the FA Cup.

"But, when we play Welling, who are one of our main rivals down there, for me, we start looking at our future at this level."

Telford, who have conceded 51 goals at an average of more than two per game. are bottom of the Conference table, nine points adrift of safety while Welling are two places above the relegation zone.

The Bucks go into this Sunday's Cup tie at the midway point of their league season, having won just three (and lost 15) of their 23 Conference games, following Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Chester.

Follow the Bucks on Radio Shropshire
BBC Radio Shropshire will have full match commentary on Sunday's game at Ashton Gate with Nick Southall

And they took two games to see off both Spennymoor United and Basingstoke Town - both from leagues below them - to get to this stage.

But, although a realist, Watson does also have an optimistic side to him too.

"The Cup's got a strange habit of causing major upsets," added the 44-year-old Liverpudlian. "And let's hope that we're one of them."

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