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Welsh football league predictions for the upcoming season

Published date: 13 July 2017 |
Published by: Dean Jones 
Read more articles by Dean Jones  Email reporter


 

WITH just a few short weeks to go until the start of the football season, reporter Dean Jones gives his predictions for a number of leagues across the region, ranging from the second tier to the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League.
Huws Gray Alliance:
Champions: Airbus Broughton.
Following their relegation from the Welsh Premier League last season, Airbus have invested heavily in their squad as they look for an immediate return to the top flight.
Manager Andrew Thomas has brought in a number of high profile signings that are sure to make a huge impact for the Wingmakers this term in what is expected to be the tightest HGA campaign in history.
The likes of Wes Baynes – who commanded a five-figure sum when Connah’s Quay acquired his from Colwyn Bay – are set to lead the charge for promotion, with striker Aaron Bowen bringing plenty of experience that is sure to be an asset.
Despite losing talented forward Tony Gray after their demotion, Airbus should have just enough to hold off their rivals and return to the WPL.
Contenders:
Caernarfon Town:
Manager Iwan Williams has done his transfer business early this summer, and pulled off a huge coup by acquiring gifted midfielder Gareth Evans from Llandudno.
Another huge boost for the Canaries is the fact that the majority of last season’s squad have re-signed at the club, including the prolific trio of Danny Brookwell, Jamie Breese and talisman Darren Thomas.
The form of midfield playmaker Jay Gibbs will also go a long way to determining their fortunes this season, as they look to regain the HGA title that they lost to Prestatyn Town earlier this year.
Rhyl:
It has been another summer of vast changes at the Corbett Sports Stadium and boss Niall McGuinness looks to get the Lilywhites back up to the promised land after relegation.
The new-look squad will have a huge target on their backs in the second tier given how highly regarded the club is held, which will make it all the more difficult to make an instant return to the WPL.
Signings such as Alex Tichiner, Shelton Payne and Cory Williams will provide the Lilies with plenty of goals, but due to the all-round strength of the HGA this season then they may fall a little short of their required target.
Dark horse: Caersws
A host of teams could have been picked in this spot, but the Bluebirds have made some impressive signings that should ensure that they see significant improvement from their disappointing effort last season.
They have added some significant in the form of ex-WPL forward Craig Whitfield, with the 28-year-old listing New Saints, Newtown and Airbus amongst his old clubs and is guaranteed to produce on a consistent basis.
Their midfield has also seen a huge upgrade with the arrivals of Ross Stephens and Luke Sherbon, who are going to be one of the best tandems in the entire division and it would not be a surprise to see Sws’ challenging for honours at the business end of the season.
Other dangers: Holywell Town, Holyhead Hotspur, Denbigh Town, Flint Town United, Porthmadog.
Lock Stock Welsh Alliance:
Division One: Conwy Borough
Departing boardroom members Geoff and Darren Cartwright have left the Tangerines in prime position to make a serious run at the title this season, and new manager Gareth Thomas has made a plethora of eye-catching signings to give them a huge chance of securing promotion at the first opportunity.
Hotshot Corrig McGonigle will look to replicate his 50-goal season at Y Morfa after starring for double winner Glantraeth last term, and a host of other squad members from Warren Gibbs’ side have also signed on at Boro, including Gethin Maxwell and the talented Iolo Hughes.
Another that will play a huge part is striker Kevin Owen, who arrives from Caernarfon Town, while defender Matty Hughes will provide some much-needed experience for the title favourites, who are predicted to win the championship in comfortable fashion.
Dark horse: Llandyrnog United
While the likes of Llangefni Town and Llandudno Albion are obvious contenders, Ryan Harden’s side showed their capabilities at times last season, and had it not been for a depleted squad then they may have achieved a top three finish in what was his first season in management.
Top scorer Mark Roberts has committed himself to the club for next season, and the tireless forward will once again be aiming for the 20-goal mark to further confirm his status as one of the best finishers operating outside the top two divisions.
Further firepower will arrive in the form of talented wide pair Dan Porter and Stuart Vernon, while the addition of the experienced Jamie Hobson to the backroom staff is another huge plus.
Division Two:
Bodedern Athletic:
After a number of key acquisitions, Athletic are tipped to go very close in their pursuit of the title this season, in what is expected to be another hugely competitive league.
Among the standout signings include former Colwyn Bay and Porthmadog standout Ryan Connolly, who will instantly become one of the most talented players anywhere in the division following a short break from the game due to injury, while the influential Myles Jones is another hugely talented individual that is expected to provide a huge spark for Ricky Williams’ men.
The presence of Craig Moore is another beneficial move from the newly promoted side, who can make it back-to-back league titles provided they cope with the step up in class.
Dark horse: Llannefydd
Over the last few seasons the winners’ of the Clwyd Premier Division have gone on to achieve great things at a higher level, and the same is expected of the all-conquering Llannefydd side that blew away all-comers last season.
Gwyndaf Pritchard’s men boast the perfect blend of youth and experience, with talisman and standout midfielder Owain Roberts proving that age is just a number with a series of impressive displays last season.
Much will also be expected of Gwion Owen, who will look to put his experience of playing in this division to good use, with young starlet Ynyr Clwyd expected to make a huge contribution after signing on the dotted line.
Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division:
Kinmel Bay:
Kinmel Bay are essentially a Welsh Alliance Division One side plying their trade in the Clwyd Premier, which makes them red-hot favourites to have a memorable season and begin their rise up the divisions once again.
Formerly Abergele Town, the team have returned to their original name after settling a dispute, and they have kept the core of their squad intact despite being demoted two divisions following a ground concern.
Veteran striker Ashley Wood has been a mainstay of the side for a number of years and he will be looking to spearhead the charge for promotion, and they already look like they are going to take some stopping.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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