Welsh Cup: Previews of all of this weekend's third round action

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

Flint Town United boss Niall McGuinness has targeted Welsh Cup success at Flintshire rivals Buckley to ignite his side’s season.

McGuinness presided over a 2-1 defeat at Gresford in his first game in charge and is keen to atone with a derby victory at The Globe on Saturday.

The former Rhyl boss acknowledged that ‘massive improvements’ are required at Cae-y-Castell this term and is eager to inspire a swift change in the club’s fortunes.

He said: “We got a good insight into where we’re at after last week’s game at Gresford.

“The performance was disappointing overall and we know there are massive improvements to be made moving forward.

“It’s still early days and too early to make a big assessment of things straight away, but myself and Aden (Shannon) will be working hard with the lads to improve things quickly.

“The Welsh Cup is a competition we want to do well in and we know we need to be strong against Buckley to ensure we’re in the next round.

“We know a little bit about them and how well they’re doing right now.

“They’re in a good run of form and I’m sure that they’ll be targeting a win themselves in a derby game like this.”

Currently in the midst of a 12-game winning streak in all competitions, Buckley are the Welsh National League’s in-form side.

Manager Dan Moore is relishing the prospect of a potential upset on home soil and insists his side are in confident mood ahead of the clash.

He said: “It’s great to be involved in a big derby cup match like this one.

“We’re in strong form and even though Flint come here as favourites, it’s a chance for us to raise our game and test ourselves against higher league opposition.

“Our ethos at the club has changed this season with a lot more local players involved in our set-up. That’s established much more of a connection between the players and the club and has been key to our success this year.

“We know this it will be a challenge for our layers but it’s a game we are all looking ford to.

“I’m sure both sets of fans fans will come in decent numbers and generate a good atmosphere for the players. A big turnout would really help to support the club financially too.”

The return of up to six key players will boost Steve O’Shaughnessy’s selection options for Airbus’ home clash against Goytre.

Assistant boss Andy Thomas was critical of his depleted side’s performance in the heavy home defeat to Holywell last weekend where the visitors outclassed them.

The manner of defeat only exacerbated Thomas’s pre-match assertion that his side could go unbeaten for the rest of this term.

But with a full complement of players at their disposal Thomas is confident of a swift return to winning ways for his side, who brushed aside Saltney Town in round two.

He said: “We’ve been short of players in our last two games but with the players we have to come back it should be like a new team.

“Going into the Goytre game we’re looking to put this bad run behind us with a good attacking performance to restore some confidence.

“We know Goytre are having a good season in the Welsh Football League where they’re third in the table.

“They’ll come here and look to turn us over but with the personnel we have coming back I’m confident we can progress.”

Prolific striker Alfons Fosu-Mensah is among the players set to return for Airbus, along with key midfielders Ashley Williams and Ryan Edwards.

Huw Griffiths insists Cefn Druids will be fully prepared for the “thankless task” of tackling Llanrhaeadr.>h<>w<>f<

The Ancients’ main focus is on trying to force their way into the Welsh Premier League top six, but Griffiths has led Druids to a Welsh Cup final previously.

Griffiths guided the then Cymru Alliance outfit to the 2012 Welsh Cup final, where they lost 2-0 to The New Saints.

And Griffiths wouldn’t be averse to another cup run – as long as it didn’t hinder his side’s top-flight form.

“It is a thankless task,” said Griffiths. “If we win the game then we were expected to and people ask why we didn’t win by more.

“If we lose then we are rubbish and I’m rubbish.”

Druids were dumped out of the competition by lower league opposition in the fourth round of the competition last year, Llanfair United inflicting a 4-1 defeat on Griffiths’ men.

Griffiths is keen to avoid a similar fate a round earlier this time around, adding: “We will give certain players a rest because, like most teams, we’ve got a few people carrying bumps and bruises.

“But we want to get through. The defeat to Llanfair certainly wasn’t the result we wanted last year.”

Some good came out of that defeat, however, as Druids survived relegation and signed James Davies, who scored a hat-trick in Llanfair’s 4-1 win last January.

“If we can pick up a player and finish in the top six then that won’t be a bad thing,” joked Griffiths, who is looking forward to pitting his wits against former player Mark Griffiths.

“I am looking forward to seeing Mark,” he continued. “Mark was great for me and it will be good to see how he’s going about being a manager.”

The likes of Davies, Kyle Parle, Jonny Taylor and Arek Piskorski could all start as Druids shuffle their pack.

Colin Caton knows holders Bala Town are there to be shot at as they bid to retain the trophy for a second year.

Bala beat The New Saints 2-1 to win the competition for the first time in their history back in April.

But a trip to fellow top-flight outfit Aberystwyth is not the ideal start to their trophy defence.

Caton said: "It's important we regain the cup again. There were great scenes last year when we won it, but it will be a tough versus Aberystwyth.

"We have had two tough games against them this season.

"If they lose, their season's effectively over, as they're then only fighting relegation in the Welsh Premier."

Bala are hoping their two Stuart Jones’ are fit to feature after missing the 5-0 thrashing by Bangor City last week.

Fellow Welsh Premier League sides Cardiff Met, Carmarthen and Barry Town United are also on their travels on Saturday.

High-flying Cardiff Met make their way Penybont, Barry Town United face Cymru Alliance title hopefuls Caernarfon and struggling Carmarthen Town head to Ammanford.

Bangor City, Newtown and Prestatyn all have home matches as they entertain Cwmamman United, Guilsfield and Ruthin Town respectively.

Elsewhere, Llandudno Junction host Penydarren, Haverfordwest head to Pontypridd and Porthmadog tackle Panteg.

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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