Can Nomads scupper Airbus’ title challenge and pile pressure on Prestatyn?

Will the potential banana skin that is Connah’s Quay send Airbus UK’s title challenge skidding off the track in the Deeside derby? Prestatyn and TNS will both keenly be watching on.

Tuesday night could well make a significant impact in the Welsh Premier League at either end of the table as relegation battling Connah’s Quay visit Airbus, in what has the makings of an excellent midweek game.

Few would’ve predicted the full-time result on Saturday as Connah’s Quay stormed to a fine 3-0 win over Aberystwyth Town, Airbus meanwhile kept themselves within the title race seeing off Rhyl 2-1 the evening before.

The most dramatic outcome on Tuesday night would be a Connah’s Quay victory.

It would not only leave TNS with one hand firmly on the Welsh Premier League title but it would also leave Prestatyn with both foot firmly in the relegation zone, with Nomads pulling two-points clear of the Seasiders.

Airbus simply must take maximum points to keep alive their fading hopes of beating TNS to the finish line and I believe the Wingmakers’ quality and strength in depth will just be too much for the Nomads come Tuesday night.

Andy Preece will have to do little more than to show his side the highlights of Connah’s Quay’s win over Aberystwyth to quash any lingering compliancy within his squad. And he can expect to call upon two of his side’s finest performers in recent weeks with midfield-man Tom Field back from suspension and winger Ryan Wignall also expected to return from injury.

A defeat however doesn’t necessarily spell doom and gloom for Connah’s Quay. They would still be trailing Prestatyn by a single point and level on games as they face their biggest fixture of the season so far next Saturday, when they travel to the North Wales coast to face the Seasiders in what could well be a make-or-break clash for either side.

Having witnessed Prestatyn Town first-hand on Saturday, I must admit, I fear for their safety. They were swept aside far too easily by Port Talbot and the outcome will have left little doubt in Neil Gibson’s mind that his side are now fully embroiled in a relegation battle. The question is, do they have the stomach for it? And on the evidence of what I have seen of them this season, unfortunately I suggest not.

Andy Parkinson, a player who offered so much in the final third, is not expected to play again this season for the club due to a knee injury and Lee Hunt – though one of the most prolific strikers in the league – is simply not benefitting from the lack of quality service he requires. Chris Hartland drafted in from Afan Lido in January failed to make the starting eleven on Saturday, with Prestatyn ineffectively pairing up burly defender Greg Stones up-top alongside Hunt.

Prestatyn would do well to bring in a player who can add desire, character and goals to the heart of their side – yet they have to look no further than to their dug-out to add what is so evidently missing by the club at present. Player/manager Neil Gibson has been hugely influential in the Prestatyn’s progress in recent years and although he has not featured on the pitch since New Year’s Day, now is surely the time for Gibbo to polish his boots and lead by example.

TUESDAY FIXTURES: Airbus v Connah’s Quay (7.30), Bala Town v Aberystwyth Town (7.45).

CHAMP’SHIP CONF: TNS P26, Pts 60; Air 27, 75; Ban 28, 42; Rhyl 27, 38; New 26, 35; Carm 27, 33.

PLAY-OFF CONF: Aber P26, Pts 38; Bala, 25, 35; Por 26, 33; Pres 28, 28; Con 27, 28; Lido 27, 14.

TALKING POINTS: Is it too late for Airbus to overtake The New Saints? Who will survive the drop out of Prestatyn and Connah’s Quay? Have your say!


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