Airbus UK Broughton v The New Saints LIVE S4/C Kick-off 17:15
ANDY Preece has said he wants his side to 'have a go' at The New Saints in their televised game on Saturday and see if they can give themselves a chance at the Welsh Premier title.
The Airbus UK Broughton boss believes his side's unexpectedly high position means there is no reason they shouldn't have a go at a major upset. Before the start of the season Airbus were 20/1 with the bookmakers for the Welsh Premier crown, but it is now a realistic prospect.
"This is an interesting part of the season," Preece told the Flintshire Chronicle. "We are still learning about this type of league but every game is a six-pointer as you are taking points off your rivals.
"When Bangor won the league they massively overachieved with what they had and I think it would be the same with us. But I am saying to my players and I'm sure the other managers are saying to theirs that now we are in this position in the top conference, why not have a go? You never know what it might lead to."
Airbus play TNS at home on S4C's Sgorio on Saturday at 17:15 having beaten the league leaders at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium once already this season. For Preece that counts for little.
"TNS are a great side and they are still the favourites to win the league," he said. "In order to beat them we have to have a really good day and catch them on a bad day. It's rare, but sometimes it happens."
Whatever happens, the Wingmakers are making a strong case for playing European football next season.
They are still in the Welsh Cup, they are in the Welsh Premier title hunt and they could win the play-off for the Europa League place if they don't win the title or finish second.
But Preece will not allow himself to think about the prospect of taking Airbus into the rarefied air of European competition just yet.
"We must not get ahead of ourselves," he said. "There are a lot of games still to play. We have to focus on winning those games and finishing as high as we can."
For The New Saints, Steve Evans is out of the game, however, theirr new signing Jamie Mullan might be in contention after seeing a specialist this week. Apart from that, all the players are available for selection.
Prestatyn Town v Port Talbot Town 14:30
Fifth-placed Port Talbot travel to fourth-placed Prestatyn Town on Saturday looking to add to their point tally in the Championship Conference, following their 1-1 draw with Bangor City.
James Bloom was able to convert one of a handful of chances for the Steelmen in the first-half, who were pegged back by City after the restart and forced to settle for a point.
“I was slightly disappointing as we created a enough chances in the first-half to be a couple of goals up, but you have to give credit to Bangor for their coming back in the second-half,” said Port Talbot manager Scott Young.
A win at Bastion Gardens would see Port close the game on Prestatyn down to a single point.
“Prestatyn have been in the top four all the season so we know it will be tough – we need to be brave and strong,” he added.
No team news from Prestatyn Town
Afan Lido FC v Bala Town 14:30
Afan Lido welcome Bala Town to the Marston's Stadium on Saturday.
On the back of good performance and a welcome 3 points at Llanelli two weeks ago, Afan Lido will be hoping they can continue with their improved form in the League.
Missing will be Damon Thomas (4 matches) and Remi Whitelock (2 matches) through suspensions. Daniel Thomas has joined the exodus to Australia having played the last two matches.
However, finally returning from suspension will be Anthony Rawlings, having now served his three match suspension (since December 29th).
Also included in the squad to face Bala is sixteen-year-old Jamie Latham a recent signing from Trefelin Boys Club for whom he played in the Port Talbot and District Junior League.
He has shown great promise in the Reserves, and Youth teams at Afan Lido since signing Senior forms in January (after reaching his 16th birthday in December) and fully deserves his inclusion in the first team squad.
As an added note, Jamie's father Chris was a playing member of Afan Lido's Welsh Cup final team that lost 3-2 against Carmarthen in May 2007.
No team news from Bala Town
Llanelli AFC v Gap Connah’s Quay 14:30
Llanelli manager Bob Jeffrey, welcomes back several players for Saturday's visit of GAP Connah's Quay to Stebonheath Park. Lloyd Grist is available after a family wedding, while Lee Hartshorn returns after a one game ban for his sending off against Afan Lido. James Secker and Dafydd Jones are also likely to be available after missing last week's win at Newtown. However the Reds are still waiting for international clearance for Polish signing Ariel Mrowinski, while Ryan Batley and Scott Evans continue to be absent through injury. Bob Jeffrey is also hoping to bring in two loan players to bolster the squad over the coming games with Carmarthen Town pair Iestyn Evans and Sam Wilson in his sights.
Bob was ecstatic after the 2-1 win at Newtown on Saturday saying "It was a superb performance. I am really pleased for the players as they proved here that they can get results at this level after the disappointment of our defeat against Afan Lido. The team has been reshaped with several new players coming in to supplement the players who stayed with us, but they all gelled together and worked so hard for this result, the new signings and the previous players."
"Craig Morris in goal was exceptional and he will never forget the day he skippered his home town team, but in fairness all my players were superb and gave their all. The top three worked their socks off to stop Newtown building from the back, the midfield covered so much ground in defence and attack, while the back four kept so much composure under pressure from the Newtown threat down the wings and the forthcoming aerial bombardment, especially at set pieces. Yes we rode our luck at times, Newtown hitting the cross bar and having several shots cleared off the line, but I told the boys at half time, if we could stay level with twenty minutes left we could go on and win the game."
"I watched Newtown at Carmarthen a few weeks ago and myself and Gary worked out a plan to combat their strengths. I can't fault the players for carrying out the plan, which isn't always easy transferring from the tactics board to the field of play. We were missing a few players yesterday due to injury and suspension, but it shows we have a squad who can compete here and gives up confidence for the last eight games of the season. We needed the goal from Steffan Lloyd, a fantastic strike and you could see the difference it made to the players at half time and as the game went on, players grew in stature. Our young players such as Steff, Adam Davies,Jack McKenna, Adam Davies and Jordan Smith have shown that they can play in the Welsh Premier, while Alex Evans was immense at the back for us alongside Dylan Blain, playing in an unfamiliar central defensive role."
"Our fullbacks Nicky Holland and Craig Williams worked hard on their defensive roles, while Jeff White led the line upfront, with Jack McKenna working hard to create space for Craig Moses to apply the goalscoring finesse for our winner. We will take great confidence from this result into our home game with Connah's Quay on Saturday. Connah's Quay will be a tough test and they will be out to play catch up after sitting out the previous two Saturdays. They may have lost Rhys Healey to Cardiff City, but in replacement Mike Hayes, they have a great goalscorer, while Ricky Evans will continue to provide the experience to their young side. I hope the supporters can turn out in numbers on Saturday, its a 2.30pm kick off, bring your friends and family and give the boys your support, they will appreciate it and give you 100% effort in return. There is a promotion in the club where you can buy a Golden Ticket for drinks, 6 drinks for £10 which is great value, while I hope you will see an exciting game for the £7 admission charge."
GAP Connah’s Quay are facing a player protest after dropping their appeal against a one-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.
Nomads withdrew their appeal last week, accepting their punishment and dropping into the Welsh Premier’s Play-off Conference relegation dogfight table while Carmarthen Town went up into the safety of the Championship Conference.
But a number of players were angered by the development and Nomads player-boss Mark McGregor is now worried he may not have a full squad to take down to Llanelli on Saturday for the first game of the Welsh Premier’s second phase.
“We had a couple of team meetings this week and there are players who are not happy about what has gone on,” said McGregor. They feel like they have been denied off the pitch again, after being denied promotion two years ago, and there are a number who have indicated they will not travel and play the game.
“I just want to get started on the second phase, no matter which division we are in and there are a few players who just want to play, but at the moment I am not confident I will have a full squad to take to Llanelli.”
Last week, as a lengthy appeal process loomed, out of the blue Nomads dropped their appeal, issuing a statement: “Following intensive, behind the scenes liaison involving the FAW, the club management team, the Gap Connah’s Quay Nomads committee, senior players and Gap personnel, Gap Connah’s Quay Nomads have decided to cancel their appeal against the one point penalty issued by the FAW, for the alleged fielding of an ineligible player.
“The key reason for this decision was the length of time it would take to progress this appeal to an independent tribunal and the impact this delay would have on the team, the league and their sponsors. In essence, it is for the good of Welsh football – not for the good of Gap Connah’s Quay Nomads.
“The club would like to specifically thank Gwyn Derfel for his role in this arbitration.”
But while the fallout from that announcement continues, McGregor is trying to focus on the task at hand.
“Our aim coming back into this league was to avoid relegation,” he said. “That is still our target. We have a training session tonight (Thursday) when hopefully I will get a better idea of who is prepared to play on Saturday.
“No matter who goes down to Llanelli, I have confidence in their ability. This team set a points record for sixth place and they have done phenomenally well. It would be a shame to see all that hard work count for nothing now.
“We have a lot of hard work to do but I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t believe I could guide this team to safety and whatever happens we have to try and send a message to the rest of this division, starting on Saturday.”
Newtown AFC v Aberystwyth Town 14:30
Aberystwyth Town this week look to get going in the Playoff Conference of the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League when they travel to Mid-Wales rivals Newtown AFC.
Last week Aber began their playoff campaign in the worst possible fashion, as they fell to a 3-1 home defeat against Bala Town, in a game that was overshadowed with news of a serious injury for Matty Collins, who suffered a broken collar bone during the game, which rules him for possibly the rest of the season. Speaking about Matty, manager Tomi Morgan said.
"Matty has been outstanding for us this season, and his injury is a big blow to our chances. This isn't the first bad luck we have had, and we wish a quick recovery"
However, Tomi was less positive about the performance as a whole;
"We got ourselves ahead which was good, but allowed them to equalise before half time, and mistakes in the second half cost us. We were maybe not at 100% and a little sluggish, having only played one game in the last month, but hopefully we will respond we'll in Newtown."
Newtown beat Aberystwyth twice over the festive period, and will look to continue this run, with ex-Seasider Adam Worton rejoining the Robins on New Year's Day.
Long term injuries for Collins and Thornton aside, Aberystwyth look to have a full squad available, with Bari Morgan back from suspension, joining locals Cledan Davies, Glyndwr Hughes and Sion James in pushing for a first team place, alongside Liam James and Rhydian Davies, who join the squad on Saturday before joining up with the Welsh Under 18's Semi Pro squad on Sunday.
Bernie McNally has no injury worries ahead of this weekends clash with Aberystwyth.
Welsh Premier Womens League
Sunday 24th February 2013 All 14:00
Caerphilly Castle v Caernarfon Town
Cardiff City FC v Aberystwyth Town
Cardiff Metropolitan v Swansea City
Llandudno Junction v Wrexham
Newcastle Emlyn v Northop Hall
Port Talbot Town v Llanidloes
This week’s contributors…..
www.airbusfc.com/ , Matt Burgess, Aneurin Venables, Gilbert Wooley, Neil Dymock, Flintshire Chronicle, Alan Howells
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