Cymru Alliance Weekend Previews

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

Airbus boss Andy Thomas does not believe Iwan Williams’ departure from Caernarfon Town will adversely affect the league leaders.

Saturday’s top of the table clash sees the Wingmakers host league leaders Town, who will be led by newly-appointed manager Sean Eardley.

And while Thomas admits that the managerial upheaval will be a blow to the Cofis, he does not expect the club’s excellent form to wane.

He said: “Caernarfon are an excellent side and one of the biggest teams, not just in this in this league but when you compare them to Welsh Premier sides too.

“Their fanbase reflects that and their support both home and away has been impressive.

”Iwan is a very good coach and I’m sure he’ll go to do well at Llandudno, but I don’t think that him leaving will impact on their game too much.

“There’s a lot of quality in that Caernarfon side and they’re top of the league for a reason.

“There’s only two points between us and we know it’ll be a really tough test for us.

“But we’re hopeful that we might be near to a full-strength squad for the first time in a while, which is a big plus.”

Thomas confirmed that he would actively pursue a replacement for striker Aaron Bowen, who left the club in acrimonious circumstances.

Bowen was on the bench in the Wingmakers’ cup game against Connah’s Quay Nomads but left the ground before full-time.

“He decided to walk out on us at half-time in the Connah’s Quay game, which left us in the lurch,” added Thomas.

“I can’t have that at this club and we’ll be looking to bring a replacement in quickly.”

Teenage attacking midfielder George Peers could feature after a series of impressive performances, while Ryan Edwards, Ashley Williams and John Davies are all in contention for starting berths.

Gresford Athletic cannot afford to underestimate basement side Llandudno Junction according to Steve Halliwell.

The Athletic boss takes his side to the Arriva Ground on Saturday and is wary of the threat posed by an improving  Junction side.

Though winless in the Alliance this term, Junction claimed impressive cup wins against a strong Denbigh Town side, winning 4-0 and 3-2 in the League Cup and Welsh Cup respectively.

A heavy 6-2 defeat at Caernarfon last weekend notwithstanding, Gresford have undergone a resurgence of late with just one defeat in their last six games.

Halliwell said: “Llandudno will be a very different proposition to what they were earlier in the season.

“They’ve turned Denbigh over twice already recently and are looking a strong unit at home now after bringing in some new players.

“We’ll have to go there positive, because it’s vital for us that we come away with a good result as we head into a sequence of fixtures against the teams around us.

“Caernarfon was a tough result for us, but we won’t be the last team that get beaten heavily at their place.

“Our focus now is on getting back to winning ways and moving ourselves up the table.”

Versatile defender Ben Burrows returns for Athletic, who will include the likes of Owen Roberts, Dave McIntyre and Tom Freeman in their squad, while wide midfielder Tom Williams remains sidelined with injury.

Holywell Town renew hostilities with a Guilsfield side that knocked them out of the Welsh Cup last weekend.

Currently third in the Alliance standings, the Wellmen have been in fine form in the league and currently trail second-placed Airbus by just five points.

Boss John Haseldin was aggrieved by the manner of their Welsh Cup exit and has called for revenge in Saturday’sr e-match in mid-Wales.

He said: “Nearly a week later, that result still sticks in our gut a little bit.

“To have conceded twice late on was really frustrating and for the winner to be scored by Asa (Hamilton), who we shouldn’t have been on the pitch, was really tough to take.

“There were some baffling decisions and it can be really confusing to see what some referees will allow and what they won’t.

“So we did feel a bit hard done by and are disappointed to be out of the Welsh Cup, but we can’t dwell on bad refereeing decisions and let that result fester.

“The league is our priority and our aim is to continue the good form that’s got us into the top three, which is where we want to be.

“We’re heading into some really big fixtures, a lot of them away from home and from our point of view we’re just fully focused on getting three points at Guilsfield now.

“Last week was bit niggly at times on a heavy pitch. It could be the same again at their place and we’ll have to roll our sleeves up and put in a professional away performance.”

The Wellmen are without central defender Gareth Sudlow who is facing a four-game suspension following his dismissal last week.

Matty Kendrick and Jamie McDaid are both fit and should feature for Haseldin’s side.

Aden Shannon believes that the knack of ‘winning ugly’ could be a real asset to Flint Town United this season.

The Silkmen laboured at times during their Welsh Cup clash at lower league Llay Welfare last weekend, before ultimately prevailing against the 10-man hosts.

And interim Flint boss Shannon, whose side host Rhyl, hopes that his side can conjure similar results when they are below-par in league games.

He said: “Obviously you want to win games by playing attractive attacking football, which we are capable of doing.

“But some days you just have to dig in and try to grind out a result even when your performance maybe isn’t where it should be.

“I think that most successful sides need to win ugly during difficult spells and I hope that we can do that when we need to.”

Since taking charge at the club three weeks ago, Shannon has overseen back-to-back wins.

But he expects a stern test from a Rhyl side that, in player manager Mark Connolly, also has a caretaker boss in charge following Niall McGuinness’ recent departure

“Rhyl are a massive club and I have been a bit surprised by how much they struggled earlier in the season,” added Shannon.

“I’m not saying that Niall was at fault for results because it is a big adjustment when you’ve dropped down from the Welsh Premier to the Alliance.

“But I’m sure Mark will have them fired up for this game and it’s a game we’re massively looking forward to.”

Forward Andy Brown is Shannon’s only injury concern ahead of the game

The weekend’s fixtures get underway this evening when fifth-placed Denbigh Town travel to Holyhead Hotspur.

Ruthin Town host Caersws, while Porthmadog entertain Penrhyncoch.

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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