Time is running out before the Welsh Premier League splits in January which will leave the top-six thrashing it out to contest the automatic European places, whilst the bottom-half of the table scrap for survival and look to enter the play-offs through via the back door of finishing in seventh-place.
As the 22-round schedule draws to a close the race for those final places in the top-half is firmly taking shape: TNS, Connah’s Quay, Bala Town and Bangor are all but certain to take four of those spaces, and fifth-placed Cardiff Met would really need to lose their way to slide into the bottom-half of the table, leaving just sixth-place up for grabs.
Following an emphatic 5-0 win against Rhyl, Carmarthen are the current occupants of sixth-place with 23 points – a point ahead of Llandudno, who were sixth themselves until they went down 3-0 at Bala on the weekend. But with two games in hand, can Aberystwyth Town steal a march on Carmarthen and Llandudno and make the cut? It is certainly achievable.
Aber, on 19 points, go into the first of those crucial games in hand on Tuesday night (8.00) against Bangor City at Park Avenue and a win would lift them level on points with Llandudno, still with another game in hand to be played on Jan 7.
Aberystwyth’s destiny this season is in their own hands as four wins from their remaining five games will be enough to secure them a top-six spot regardless of what Carmarthen or Llandudno do, the question is whether they can produce their best run of form yet this season in a campaign which has so far been blighted by inconsistency?
There is speculation suggesting Aberystwyth have set their sights on signing three new players in January to help bolster their squad but until then, Matthew Bishop and Wayne Jones will need to squeeze every last bit out of the squad over what will be a defining few weeks.
Bangor City need just three points themselves in order to secure their Championship Conference status in 2017, but have looked a little unsure of themselves of late as Ian Dawes implements his own ideas and stamp on the side. If Aberystwyth Town can produce a big home performance on Tuesday they will have at least given themselves the platform on which to push on.
THE RACE FOR 6TH
Position: 6th Played: 19 Points: 23
Remaining fixtures: Dec 26: Cardiff Met (H); Dec 31: Cardiff Met (A); Jan 14: Cefn Druids (A)
Position: 7th Played: 19 Points: 22
Remaining fixtures: Dec 26: Bangor City (A); Jan 1: Bangor (H); Jan 14: Rhyl (H)
Position: 8th Played: 19 Points: 19
Remaining fixtures: Dec 20: Bangor City (H); Dec 26: Newtown (H); Dec 31: Newtown (A); Jan 7: Cefn Druids (H); Jan 14: Cefn Druids (A)
Featured image courtesy of Aberystwyth Town FC