Later today, the league’s two pre-season title favourites Airbus UK and The New Saints go to head to head in what is the biggest game of the Welsh Premier season so far.
Unbeaten Airbus hold an early three-point lead over the defending league champions and this afternoon’s clash will give an early indication as to whether they will be able to last the distance in this year’s title race, after the Saints stormed their way towards the league championship with a mammoth 22 point lead.
Airbus might’ve been good last year but they still finished a distant second-best.
Just as they have done in previous summers, the Wingmakers have again strengthened and are looking more formidable year-upon-year. Physical and ruthless in front of goal, the summer acquisitions of Chris Simm (although starting a six-game ban today) and Steve Jones only add to the quality at Andy Preece’s disposal.
The former Football League veteran has been pivotal to Airbus’ transition from a mid-table outfit to title contenders, since his appointment as director of football last January and Welsh Premier League success with the Wingmakers would certainly add to his growing stock.
There were genuine fears from Airbus that they could lose Preece, and he was a leading candidate for the recently vacant Carlisle United job in League One (ex-Cardiff City captain Graham Kavanagh was eventually appointed).
It does seem likely that Preece’s long-term future lies within the professional game and I suspect that Airbus will be prepared for this eventuality when the time comes. But in the meanwhile, the challenge for Preece and the club is to see if they can slug it out with the Saints’ and finish standing at the top of the pile come the end of April.
Airbus vs The New Saints is Saturday’s live game on Sgorio on S4C from 3pm (kick-off 3:45). You can also follow the clubs’ respective twitter accounts @airbusukfc and @tnsfc
Current state of my blog
During the summer and start of the season, I did try to provide some coverage on the Welsh League which is poorly represented online. It’s not the first time I’ve tried to do it and it’s not the first time I’ve had to wave the white flag after a few weeks of doing it! I’ve found it quite hard to remain up to speed with news and am simply unable to get to anywhere near enough Welsh League games. Even tracking minor details such as goalscorers becomes a sizeable task and compared to it’s North Wales equivlent, the ‘Cymru Alliance’, the Welsh League has a lot to learn. I guess we already knew that though.
So, as for what will be appearing on the blog going forward – I’m not entirely sure. I will try and keep it relevent on Welsh football although, how much time I commit to the blog will probably be decided by the level on interest it gets. On that note, if anyone has got any suggestions post them in the comments!