New Year, new post – January is a window of opportunity for the WPL

The opening of the transfer window is a window of opportunity for both clubs and players competing in the Welsh Premier League…

Happy New Year everyone and apologies for making this the first post for quite some time. The general idea at the beginning of the season was to update insidethewpl at least once a week, but over the last month or so, my family, full-time occupation, football work and a house move have made it difficult to find time. With Christmas out of the way and things settling down again, I’m hoping I can re-commit once again to posting each week.

Anyway cutting to the chase, those associated with the Welsh Premier League will have been anticipating the opening of the transfer window for some time and the opportunity for clubs to reinforce their squad’s will have been met with greater urgency at certain teams than others as the season begins to shape up.

For me, the two biggest stories which will impact upon the league this January focus on two clubs Bangor City and Aberystwyth – albeit for very different reasons.

What happens this month will have a drastic effect on the fortunes of arguably the league’s biggest club Bangor City who, after seeing their top-six hopes dashed following a poor start, have since found themselves lodged deep into a rut with poor off-field management and a complete lack of form leaving the club clutching at straws to avoid relegation to the Cymru Alliance – an unthinkable scenario twelve months ago.

Change is most definitely needed at Bangor and realistically this window is all the club have left to give themselves a fighting chance of avoiding demotion.

The club have already moved to bring in two players from the English lower-leagues – Liam Caddick arrives and will presumably be given the responsibility of bringing goals to the WPL’s lowest-scoring side, while Callum Morris comes in as something of an unknown quantity to replace the departing Rob Jones, who you’d expect will turn up at another WPL club in the not too distant future.

For Bangor to be able return to winning ways however they need to strengthen at the back. It’s going to be interesting to see how many players they look to recruit and what impact the mid-season influx of new players will have on the side. Whatever happens, Bangor City’s dire circumstances leaves them with absolutely nothing to lose by gambling and it’s very much a case of twist or bust for the three-time Welsh Premier League winners.

Elsewhere, this transfer window could offer a whole new opportunity for the WPL’s star player Chris Venables.

The continued goalscoring feats (an incredible 23 goals in 19 games) of the Aberystwyth Town midfielder have attracted the attention of Football League scouts for some time but speculation that the 29-year-old could finally move into the professional game intensified when the Football League itself tweeted reported interest from two of its clubs.

Quite how a league body can speculate on a player who is under contract at club does seem disrespectful to both the WPL and Aberystwyth Town but I would strongly expect that Ian Hughes and the Aber directors would not stand in Venables’ way should the club’s valuation of the player be met.

This speculation comes just a month after Port Talbot winger Keyon Reffell accepted a professional deal at Kidderminster Harriers. Is this proof that the league’s reputation is slowly improving? I’d like to think so. To see Venables succeed in the Football League would be a feel-good story for all clubs competing in the WPL and certainly help boost the league’s perception.

DECEMBER PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Finally, at time of writing I’ve not yet heard any announcement on the Player of the Month award December, but for me, I have been most impressed with Port Talbot’s Luke Bowen.

Bowen rejoined the Steelmen last summer and has thrived under both Jarred Harvey and new boss Bernard McNally and has impressed with his work-rate, fitness and has been a real goal threat. Am I overlooking anyone for December’s award? Tweet me @1matthewburgess or post a reply here with your views!

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next week.

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