AFC Telford: Rob Smith to bar troublemakers from dressing room

Bucks Head - Telford v Chester, 12 December 2015
Telford put out Chester at the first round stage in the FA Trophy after a replay last season, but there was to be no repeat at the Bucks Head on Saturday when they lost 2-0

AFC Telford manager Rob Smith has vowed to bar troublemaking players from the dressing room in a bid to galvanise the struggling National League North club.

Smith has so far been unable to turn the Bucks round since returning from Hednesford in August to take charge for a second time.

And he claims out-of-favour players are trying to upset their team-mates.

"The only players allowed to enter that dressing room next week will be the ones who want to be here," Smith said.

Telford's four fixtures over the festive period are all against fellow strugglers.

They have home games against 17th-placed Lowestoft and 21st-placed Gloucester City, and Boxing Day/New Year's holiday fixtures home and away with Smith's former club Hednesford, who sacked manager Bernard McNally on Tuesday morning.

"The Christmas period is massive," he told BBC Radio Shropshire. "The next four games are the be all and end all for us. And I've got people who have got the commitment to get us out of the mess we're in.

"But the rest of them can go as far away from this club as possible, as far as I'm concerned. There's certain players who don't want to be at this club. We all know who they are."

Festive fixtures to make the Bucks fizz . . .
19 Dec - home to Lowestoft26 Dec - away to Hednesford
28 Dec - home to Gloucester2 Jan - home to Hednesford

Asked about whether the disaffected players are disrupting the dressing room, Smith added: "They're trying to. But the other lads aren't interested so it's 'Cheerio. Stay away'. They're a disgrace to themselves and to the football club. It's an embarrassment to them, not to me."

Telford, relegated from the non-league top flight in April, were bottom when Smith, who was sacked by the Bucks in 2010, returned to the club.

Having picked up just one point from their opening five games, they have now won just three out of 17, and are still bottom and five points adrift of safety, and in danger of returning to the Northern Premier League.

But Smith has been backed to add another new signing following last week's arrival of Jordan Wynter on a month's loan from Cheltenham, and he has several players coming back from injury.

"The club have backed me by bringing in Jordan and they'll back me again," he said, following Saturday's improved second-half display in the 2-0 FA Trophy first round exit to National League side Chester.

"I've got players like Izak Reid, who wants to be here, Sean Clancy and Jack Rae, who goes though a brick wall for me every week.

"I'll have Connor McCarthy back next week, Dwayne Samuels, Paul McHone and maybe Dave Hibbert. But the rest can go."

Rob Smith was talking to BBC Radio Shropshire's Nick Southall.

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