After a dominating 4-0 victory over Chorley in the first fixture of 2021, Fylde will now face the first away trip of the year as they travel to Shropshire.

AFC Telford United will host AFC Fylde at New Bucks Head in Saturday’s fixture, as the Coasters look to hit the ground running in away games for 2021. ‘Get to Know’ the Bucks ahead of this 3 PM Kick-Off.


AFC Telford United was founded in 2004, announced by the Telford United Supporters Limited following the liquidation of Telford United after the club went into administration due to severe financial difficulties throughout the 2003/04 season. The Bucks were then placed in the Northern Premier League Division One, with Bernard McNally as manager. The club’s first season saw them finish third in the league, qualifying for the play-offs where they earned a promotion to the Premier Division after defeating Kendal United 2-1 in the final. AFC Telford United would then go on to earn promotion to the Conference North in the 2006/07 season through the play-offs, which they qualified for after narrowly missing out on winning the NPL Premier Division due to a 2-1 loss to eventual champions Burscough. They defeated Marine and Witton Albion to secure their promotion to the Conference North.

Back-to-back promotions were nearly a reality for the Bucks as they came second in their first season in the Conference North, but a 4-0 loss to Barrow prevented that. Telford qualified for the play-offs again in 2008/09 after placing fourth but again suffered a defeat to Gateshead in the final. The club would go on to earn promotion to the Conference Premier in 2009/10 after being third time lucky in the play-offs, defeating Nuneaton Town and Guiseley. Telford went on to be relegated back to the Conference North in 2012/13, after barely escaping relegation in 2011/12. They won the 2013/14 Conference North season earning immediate promotion back to the Conference Premier under Liam Watson but went on to be relegated again in the 2014/15 season to the National League North where they remain today.

The Manager – Gavin Cowan

Gavin Cowan has been AFC Telford United manager since being appointed in May 2018 following the resignation of the previous manager Rob Edwards, although Cowan had been at the club since 2016. The Bucks has been Cowan’s first experience as a manager, although throughout his playing career he held a player-coach role with Solihull Moors as well as having founded his own Football Academy.

As a player, Cowan experienced a successful career playing both in non-league and as a professional in the Football League. The former defender started his career at Braintree Town, moving to Canvey Island after. After impressing on loan for Nuneaton Borough, he earned his move to the Football League for Shrewsbury Town making 24 appearances for the club. Cowan also went on to play for Kidderminster Harriers, Grays Athletic, Fleetwood Town, Gainsborough Trinity, Nuneaton Town, Solihull Moors as well as AFC Telford United marking his first experience with the club he later went on to manage.

The Captain – Adam Walker

Captain Adam Walker started his playing career playing for Coventry City, coming through the youth ranks at the club and making his professional debut for the Sky Blues in the Football League Championship in 2008. He made two league appearances for the club before moving on loan to Nuneaton Town, where he signed permanently in April 2010. The midfielder spent between 2010 and 2015 with Nuneaton making almost 250 appearances for the club, as well as winning promotion to the National League during the 2011/12 season. Walker then moved to Solihull Moors, winning the league under Gavin Cowan by 10 points, and finally Brackley Town where he was an FA Trophy winner. His successful spell with Brackley Town led to him joining AFC Telford United in 2019.

Scout Report

1 Russell Griffiths
2 Lee Vaughan
18 Theo Streete
6 Courtney Meppen-Walters
21 Edward Jones
4 Jack Byrne
8 Adam Walker
14 Dominic McHale
7 James Hardy
15 Jordan Davies
9 Aaron Williams

The Bucks have hit a form of three winless games recently over the second half of December. After defeating Coleshill Town in a 10-1 away fixture, AFC Telford United then saw themselves eliminated from the FA Trophy against Darlington on penalties. As for their recent National League North fixtures, the Bucks suffered defeats against 2nd placed Chester FC, 2-1 at home and 3-0 away.

AFC Fylde’s last game saw the Coasters avenging the Boxing Day defeat against Chorley, as Fylde secured a 4-0 win at Mill Farm after a dominating performance which featured a Ben Tollitt hat-trick and a Danny Philliskirk goal. The Coasters had previously been beaten by Chorley 3-1 on Boxing Day but reacted strongly to start 2021 in the best way possible with a win against the Magpies.

AFC Telford United and AFC Fylde have faced each other on five different occasions in the past. Their first encounter dates back to the 2014/15 FA Trophy competition, with Fylde coming out as the winning team in a 4-0 win at Kellamergh Park. The remaining four matches were National League North fixtures, for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons. The interesting fact to consider is that the Bucks are yet to defeat the Coasters in any of their past matches, and Fylde has come out as the winning team in 4 fixtures with the remaining match ending in a 1-1 draw – the most recent encounter between both teams.

The Bucks have favoured certain players for their line-up this season, and they feature an interesting squad with several familiar faces to AFC Fylde.

Starting in goal should be former Coaster Russell Griffiths, a strong and talented goalkeeper who came through the Everton FC youth ranks, as well as featuring the likes of Cheltenham, Motherwell FC and Chester FC in his footballing CV.

Fan favourite Lee Vaughan is expected to start in the right side of the defence, as he has returned for his third spell with AFC Telford United. Theo Streete is expected to start for the Bucks, alongside former Manchester City youngster Courtney Meppen-Walter. Young Stoke City loanee Edward Jones should complete the Telford’s defensive line.

The Bucks feature a very dominant midfield with some talented players. Captain Adam Walker is predicted to start in the midfield, and Jack Byrne is expected to feature next to him having joined his former Solihull Moors teammate prior to the 2020/21 season. Completing the middle of the park, another Manchester City academy youth product should be starting in the form of Dominic McHale, who joined the Bucks this season this past September.

Former AFC Fylde player James Hardy is expected to cause trouble from the wings, and he has demonstrated somewhat of a free roam in positioning in recent games that has troubled opposition. However, Hardy did not start in Telford’s recent fixture away at Chester with Gavin Cowan opting for another former Coaster, Andy Bond. The pacey Jordan Davies is also predicted to feature for the Bucks, with the prolific striker Aaron Williams completing the Telford line-up.

The One to Watch – James Hardy

There is some added spice to Saturday’s fixture, as Fylde will be go up against former Coaster James Hardy who’ll be this week’s player to watch. There’s no denying that Hardy is one of the most talented wingers playing at the National League North level, and the Coasters know this from watching the exciting winger ply his trade for AFC Fylde between 2015 and 2019.

The 24-year-old midfielder started his career at Oldham Athletic as a nine-year-old, before being released in 2011. He then went on trial with his boyhood club Manchester City and signed with the club in 2012. Hardy would go on to join AFC Fylde in 2015, becoming one of the most promising players in non-league. He was a key player for the Coasters in 2016/17 season, scoring eight goals which helped Fylde achieve promotion to the National League after securing the National League North title. He faced injuries which limited his time in 2017/18 and 2018/19, which led to Hardy joining Halifax Town on loan.

After his contract with Fylde expired, Hardy went on to join Walsall for a season making 11 appearances for the Saddlers before leaving to join AFC Telford United. Hardy is a tricky winger, who matches pace with a strong technical ability making him a strong player when driving the ball forward. He often causes trouble to the opposition and should be one to keep an eye out for in Saturday’s fixture.