Andy Jones flies Robin’s nest as Welsh Premier transfer window opens with flurry of activity

The January transfer window has already seen a number of Welsh Premier League clubs announce new signings, with Airbus notably recruiting to new players to bolster their title credentials.

Airbus, who remain hot on the trail of leaders TNS, wasted no time in announcing the signing of 24-year-old midfielder Ryan Wignall before sealing the most intriguing deal of the so far, with the arrival of Andy Jones from Newtown.

Airbus have swooped for Newtown captain Andy Jones (Newtown official site).
Airbus have swooped for Newtown captain Andy Jones (Newtown official site).
‘AJ’ led the Robins front-line to excellent effect this term with the Mid-Walians sitting pretty joint-third in the table and the ex-Newtown captain will fit well into Andy Preece’s championship chasing side.

Jones, who was believed to have been on the radars of both Bangor City and Carmarthen before Airbus made an official approach for the 28-year-old, will serve the Wingmakers well with his strength and versatility providing Preece with options in central defender and in attack.

With Wignall also able to fit into a number of roles (centre midfield, out wide, attack), Preece has effectively strengthened his defence, midfield and attack with just two arrivals, keeping competition intense throughout the squad as they look to push The New Saints to the wire in search of their first ever league title.

The exit of the Andy Jones will be the first real challenge of note that Chris Hughes has had to face since replacing Bernard McNally.

Hughes has seemingly slotted in effortlessly as Newtown manager and the transition from McNally to the former Prestatyn assistant has been as smooth as the Latham Park side could’ve hoped for.

With a record of just two defeats in nine in all competitions, Hughes has steered an already-steady ship into even calmer waters with the mid-season split fast approaching, but he will do well to find an equal replacement for Jones.

Of Newtown’s current attacking options, Jeff White seems the most likely to fit the bill and lead the front line with the excellent Matthew Hearsey enjoying a good season playing wide left and the underrated Luke Boundford providing support on the opposite side. Chris Hughes is believed to be keen to add to his squad for the second stage of the season.

Gap Connah’s Quay have been the busiest of the Welsh Premier League sides confirming a quartet of signings as Mark McGregor reinforces his squad for what is shaping up to be a relegation battle.

McGregor has been a long-term admirer of former Rhyl man Russell Courtney who arrives at the Deeside Stadium with Michael Jukes and well-travelled ex-Newport County midfielder Michael Burns. The addition of Lee Healey should take the weight of the shoulders of striker Mike Hayes.

Having already sealed the signing of forward Luke Bowen, Mark Aizlewood has bolstered his Carmarthen squad with attacking midfielder Keyon Reffel.

Reffel, 23, has shown plenty of promise at Afan Lido in what has been his first season in the Welsh Premier League but his arrival at Richmond Park does pose questions.

Both he and regular midfield man Corey Thomas are both very lightweight for a side as physical and as direct as Carmarthen, so it will remains to be seen what impact young Reffel will have. Matty Collins, Liam McCreesh and Paul Fowler all certainly add more steel but there will be definite vulnerability to the Old Gold should Aizlewood opt to pair up his new signing in a midfield four alongside Thomas.

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