It’ll be interesting to see how the club react if their ambitions aren’t being met this season but I say with some confidence that Connah’s Quay will be the most improved squad this season. Could it be that the Nomads are in the early stages of mounting a challenge to TNS’s dominance?
That’s what I wrote back in August when I previewed Connah’s Quay’s season – 11 games in, Allan Bickerstaff has paid the price for Connah’s Quay poor start to the season becoming the first managerial casualty of the new WPL season.
Evidently the club felt that their 3-1-7 (WDL) record wasn’t good enough and the Nomads are by no means meeting their ambitions as they languish in 11th-place in the table with their weekend defeat at home to Aberystwyth being their third in succession.
While their home form has been mixed, Connah’s Quay have struggled on the road where they’ve picked up just one point. Even in a season which has so far produced a number of inconsistent results involving all 12 teams, results have not been good enough under Allan Bickerstaff.
Perhaps the most telling was their 3-1 home defeat against Bangor City at the beginning of the month.
I watched Allan Bickerstaff’s post-match interview from that game with interest as he rued his side’s inability to defend set-plays and take their chances, and I felt the writing appeared to be on the wall from then on.
It is worth remembering that Connah’s Quay have all but rebuild their squad over the last two transfer windows and an element of transition would naturally take its toll but while Bickerstaff has remained loyal to his players, there’s been little indication that he’s able to take that transitional period onto the next stage.
The Nomads have been unable to utilise the strength’s of their main summer signing Les Davies and they have also been unable to find a defined role for Nicky Rushton, another forward of proven quality in the WPL.
The current Connah’s Quay squad is an interesting mix of experienced players and young talent, which the club have promoted from within their academy, which appears to be thriving giving Bickerstaff’s successor plenty to work with.
Who next for the Nomads?
There are three names which I believe are serious candidates to take over at the Deeside Stadium.
Nev Powell is a name which has already been discussed on Twitter and a return to his former club could be tempting for the long-serving Bangor City manager. With a limited budget at Nantporth, Powell could be tempted if ambitious Connah’s Quay were to come calling.
The second name is an unlikely one but I’m hearing a return to the WPL could be in the offing for Andy Legg. Legg has not managed since departing Llanelli in November 2012 and although based in Nottingham, the Nomad’s would match his ambitions.
The third person speculated to be interested is former Airbus assistant Andy Morrison. He departed the Wingmakers earlier this season and I believe he is at this stage the front runner.
The Connah’s Quay job should attract a steady stream of potential candidates seeking to the take the club forward. They have revealed that they hope to make an appointment by the end of October or early November at the latest.