‘We’re the same old TNS and that pleases me.’
So says Saints boss Scott Ruscoe as the Welsh Premier League champions and current league leaders target a five-point gap at the top with a victory at near-neighbours Cefn Druids tonight (7.45pm).
Ruscoe has been delighted with TNS’s progress in recent weeks – save for a recent blip with defeat to Barry Town United – after the Park Hall side reached the Irn-Bru last four and another League Cup semi-final.
“If we beat Cefn tonight then it will give us the five-point gap we need,” he said. “We tried to get it early on in the season but we slipped up.
“It helps that Connah’s Quay were held by Cardiff – it was always going to be 0-0 or one goal. I just feel we can get a grip of the league now, take our chances and go on a bit of a run.
“Traditionally, we do well in December and January; now we can kick on and the other teams would be looking up at us and thinking ‘when will they slip up?’.
“That’s what I hope will happen for the next few weeks. We’ve had a good Irn-Bru Cup run, which has helped us with our momentum and our fitness.
“We’ve reached another League Cup final, which we have done for the last three years, and we start the Welsh Cup on Friday.
“Getting over the hurdle of that first game of the season and getting our momentum back was important. Technically and physically, I’m happy where we are at the moment.”
Ruscoe’s reign got off to the worst possible start in August when TNS were thrashed by Bangor, leading to doubts over whether he could steer them to another league title.
But Ruscoe, a TNS playing legend, believes it is progress alone that people are no longer questioning him or his side.
He added: “I think the Bangor game, with the benefit of hindsight, helped me. I haven’t really talked about it with the players too many times, but if you look at where we came from, losing that to going on a long unbeaten run, shows it was a reality check.
“We couldn’t just turn up and play; everyone wanted to be the same as us. People come to Park Hall and they want to win, they want to beat us. When you’re full-time, you need to be your game 100 per cent. We’re the only one who is and everyone wants to knock us off our perch.
“They want to be the ones who take the title from TNS, the cups or even picking a famous win at Park Hall. People are asking if TNS are the same as they were for the last two years.
“Possibly it’s progress that people aren’t talking about that anymore. They’ve seen us churning the results out and seen our performances, they think it’s the same old TNS.
“They wondered whether these two lads who have been given the chance – are they up to it? That’s what I felt. But as long as we keep winning and doing things on our side, and not causing rifts as that’s not my style, then great.
“I like to let our football do the talking and when everyone sees us on S4C doing our stuff, they know we’re doing well. We’re the same old TNS and that pleases me.”
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