Telford boss Liam Watson eyes FA Cup boost to league form

AFC Telford United manager Liam Watson
AFC Telford United manager Liam Watson won promotion in his first season at the Bucks Head

AFC Telford boss Liam Watson is hoping the Bucks' return to the FA Cup first round can help their poor league form.

The Bucks, bottom of the Conference, have fared better in the cup with Tuesday night's 3-0 fourth qualifying round replay win against Spennymoor.

That set up a trip to Basingstoke Town on Saturday, 8 November.

But Watson is concerned only with this Saturday's visit of Bristol Rovers, admitting: "We should now go into the Rovers game with a lot of confidence."

The game on Saturday week will be Telford's first game at the first round stage since losing 4-0 at Chelmsford City three years ago.

Watson's side remain seven points adrift in the relegation places, having won just twice in 17 matches. But coming on top of their 3-1 away league win at Woking a fortnight ago, the two games with Spennymoor, both following the sale of top scorer Mike Phenix to Barnsley, means that they are now unbeaten in three matches.

Telford's FA Cup pedigree
Telford United have a rich FA Cup history, having now reached the first round proper 24 times since being rebranded in 1969, when they ceased to be called Wellington Town.
They have reached the third round four times - their best effort coming in 1985 when they made it all the way to the last 16 before losing to FA Cup holders Everton.
But Telford have only reached the first round (and have got no further that that) since folding in 2004 and being resurrected as AFC Telford United. That was the same season when they reached the fourth round for a third time, losing 2-0 at home to Millwall

Having only scraped a 2-2 draw in the first meeting in the north east on Saturday, thanks to injury-time goals from Adam Farrell and Mike Grogan, it was the same two players on target in midweek.

Grogan bagged a brace, while Farrell got the other as Telford earned a trip to Hampshire to face Conference South side Basingstoke who won 4-1 at Harrow Borough in their replay.

"We weren't ruthless enough in the first half," said Watson. "We had some great chances.

"But it was good to keep our first clean sheet of this season. You could see the difference Andy Parry made in our defence.

"It was always going to be tricky against a side that is actually good. You have to give them credit - Jason Ainsley has done a great job at Spennymoor. But they probably missed their opportunity on Saturday."