AFTER a turbulent fortnight Connah’s Quay (7/5) resume their season at Llanelli (13/8) on Saturday boosted by the news that player/manager Mark McGregor has committed his future to the club, signing a new three-year deal.
The Nomads were tipped by many – myself included, admittedly – to struggle this season following their promotion from the Cymru Alliance but they instead found themselves amongst the fierce mid-table scramble to qualify for the Championship Conference.
A well-documented point deduction then saw Connah’s Quay pulled back into the Play-Off Conference to leave McGregor targeting survival before leading another charge for the top-six. “For this season the immediate priority is to ensure we don’t get dragged into a relegation fight, and then to push on and try to finish seventh or eighth. If we are lucky enough to still be in this league next season we will be looking to secure a top-six finish and from there the sky’s the limit,” he said.
“With this set-up, our excellent fans and the great bunch of players at our disposal I’m confident we will go from strength to strength over the next three years”
At the top of the table, TNS (10/11) have a healthy seven-point lead at the top of the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League, despite not playing last weekend. However they return to action in what is the game of the weekend, with a televised top-of-the-table clash against Airbus UK (12/5)(5.15). Having racked up thirteen goals in their last three league outings, Andy Preece’s Airbus will be confident of hosting the league-leaders and gaining ground in the race for this year’s title.
Bangor City (EVS) are fast becoming one of the talking points within the league and Nev Powell will be facing increasing pressure going into Saturday’s match at Carmarthen Town (9/4). City are coming off the back of consecutive draws but Powell’s pressing concern will his sides extended run of nine league games without a win – a real rarity for the usually overpowering Citizens. Indeed, Carmarthen Town will more than fancy their chances at Richmond Park and be glad to get their second-half of the season underway, having been left in limbo as a result of Connah’s Quay’s decisions to briefly appeal their point deduction.
With clear daylight already between fourth and fifth, Prestatyn (5/6) will be keen to cut-off Port Talbot (5/2) by an even greater point margin as Scott Young’s side visit North Wales. Prestatyn will be licking off their wounds after being thumped 4-0 by Airbus last weekend but remain four points above Port.
Bala Town (8/11) have responded well since dashing their top-six hopes, having begun the second phase of the season with maximum points. Win number three could come at the expense of Afan Lido (3/1) who remain rooted the table.
The Mid-Wales derby between Aberystwyth (9/5) and Newtown (6/5) see’s two of the league’s underachievers go head-to-head at Latham Park, with both sides look without a point since the league split. Newtown were stung by a 2-1 smash-and-grab win at home to Llanelli last weekend and Bernard McNally will be demanding his side are more ruthless in front of goal this weekend.
Afan Lido 3/1 Draw 13/5 Bala Town 8/11
Carmarthen 9/4 Draw 12/5 Bangor City EVS
Newtown 6/5 Draw 5/2 Aberystwyth 9/5
Llanelli 13/8 Draw 23/10 Connah’s Quay 7/5
Prestatyn 5/6 Draw 5/2 Port Talbot 5/2
Airbus UK 12/5 Draw 12/5 TNS 10/11