The top of the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League couldn’t be any tighter with just a single point separating the top-four clubs Prestatyn, Airbus, Bangor and TNS.
The weekend’s action kicks off at Nantporth stadium on Friday night as Bangor City (2/7) entertain Newtown (15/2), as the Citizens look to set the pace for their table-topping rivals. The Citizens hit six last time out, in a 6-2 win at Connah’s Quay, whilst Newtown – who’re just a point from sixth spot – were forced to settle for a draw at home to Bala Town, where it finish one all. Bangor will be missing the league’s leading scorer Chris Simm (suspension). Newtown travel without defender Matty Cook (hamstring) and there are doubts over the fitness of the Robins’ main goal-threat Luke Boundford (dead leg). Bangor City will still have plenty of fire-power and should be too strong for Newtown despite the absence of Simm.
Llanelli (11/4) manager Andy Legg has plenty of selection worries ahead of his side’s visit to leaders Prestatyn Town (4/5) on Saturday afternoon. The Reds are down to their barebones with four players – including striker Luke Bowen – suspended, as well as winger Craig Williams, as Llanelli look to recover from their last-minute defeat to Port Talbot. They face a Prestatyn side who must keep the momentum going to maintain their narrow one-point lead over the chasing pack. Gregg Stones is the only absentee for the Seasiders, who should be able to take advantage of Llanelli’s selection woes in front of their home support.
Carmarthen (11/4) have a near clean bill of health as they host in-form Airbus UK (8/11), with long-term injury absentee Craig Hughes being the only exception. A two-goal comeback midweek against Port Talbot in the League Cup, would’ve lifted spirits in the Carmarthen camp, who have so far performed miserably in the league. The Richmond Park side can expect an uphill struggle against the league’s form team however – Airbus sealed a 2-1 over TNS last Friday to extend their unbeaten run to seven games and are currently poised in second-place. The Wingmakers are flying high in the belief that they can genuinely stake a claim for the league title for the first time in their history and manager Andy Preece has no selection concerns ahead of the long journey to West Wales.
TNS (1/9) will be looking to get their title bid back on track following their 2-1 defeat to Airbus last weekend and are strong favourites to see off basement side Afan Lido (12/1) at Park Hall. Lido are already four points adrift at the bottom of the table and have lost their last seven matches. Anything other than a convincing win for the Saints would be considered an upset, so there could be plenty of goals in this one. 3/10 is the price for over 2.5 goals and TNS will feel they have a point to prove after being downed at Airbus.
A last-gasp winner saw Port Talbot (10/11) claim three points at Llanelli and climb into the top-six last weekend, and now the pressure is on the Steelmen their place in upper-half of the table against Connah’s Quay (12/5). Port Talbot’s Mark Jones has a fully-fit squad to choose from after seeing his side throw away a two-goal lead to Carmarthen in the Leauge Cup midweek – a warning that defensive vulnerabilities still haunt the GenQuip stadium outfit. Connah’s Quay will go above Port Talbot with a win as they hover just outside the top-six but have lost four of their last five league outings. The Nomads would be satisfied to return to North Wales having avoided defeat – the draw is available at 12/5.
The live televised fixture (S4C/online) this weekend is at Maes Tegid where Bala Town (8/13) host Aberystwyth (10/3). One defeat in six has seen Bala reach sixth-spot to put the Lakesiders back on track for their pre-season remit of play-off contention, whilst Aber picked up a rare win to move outside the bottom two at the expense of Carmarthen, thanks to a 1-0 win. Stephen Brown (suspended) and John Irving (knee) are definitely out for Bala, with Connal Murtagh and Stef Edwards rated as being ‘fifty-fifty’. Aberystwyth boss Tomi Morgan is expected to again give the nod to recently recalled keeper Mike Lewis, after impressing last week, whilst Cledan Davies and Glyndwr Hughes are both expected to shake off knocks in time to play. Aber must start banking points if they are to clinch a top-six finish and a gritty draw would keep both teams there or thereabouts at 11/4.
ENHANCED ODDS CORBETT SPORTS SPEICAL:
Port Talbot, Prestatyn Town & Bala Town All To Win: 11/2
Bangor City 2/7 Draw 7/2 Newtown 15/2
Carmarthen 11/4 Draw 11/4 Airbus UK 8/11
Port Talbot 10/11 Draw 12/5 Connah’s Quay 12/5
Prestatyn Town 4/5 Draw 5/2 Llanelli 11/4
TNS 1/9 Draw 13/2 Afan Lido 12/1
Bala Town 8/13 Draw 11/4 Aberystwyth 10/3
Latest title odds: TNS 5/6; Bangor City 11/5; Airbus 11/2; Prestatyn 12/1