TNS on target for another Welsh Premier League championship


Staff reporter (Border Counties)

THE only question now being asked of the Corbett Welsh Premier is not who will win the title, but by how many points will TNS prevail this time.

Last season the Saints took the title at a canter, ending 14 points clear of their rivals and underlining their dominance by thrashing third placed Bangor City 9-1 in the closing weeks.

The Saints’ annual European excursion ended as early as ever but it would take a brave man to bet against the Shropshire club returning as Welsh champions again next season.
Airbus UK Broughton also bowed out of Europe at the first hurdle but continue to represent the only emerging threat to the Saints’ dominance.
Manager Andy Preece has been relatively quiet in the transfer market but has strengthened his attacking options with the arrival of midfielder Jordan Johnson from Leek Town and Matty McGinn from AFC Telford.
However defender Sam Hart, so impressive for the Wingmakers last term, has switched to Bangor City over the summer as the Citizens strive to end their decline of recent years.
City suffered an embarrassing 8-0 aggregate defeat to Stajnar in the Europa League and go into the Welsh Premier season without silverware since 2011 and pressure mounting on manager Neville Powell.
Striker Les Davies remains a threat though Powell has sought to ease the burden with the arrival of Burscough striker Jack Laird.

However the City have parted company with defender Gerwyn Jones who has joined the Rhyl revolution after impressing in his debut Welsh Premier League campaign.

Rhyl impressed in their first season back in the top flight and manager Greg Strong will expect a push for Europe this season.
Ex-TNS midfielder John McKenna heads a cast of new arrivals from Warrington Town, while defender Paul O’Neill has arrived from Chorley Town and ex-Bangor City striker Ashley Stott has signed from Vauxhall Motors.
Neighbours Prestatyn Town would have been relegated last season but were reprieved due to the usual lack of South Wales applicants.
However the Seasiders appear to have failed to heed the warning and go into the season having failed to significantly strengthen.
Gap Connahs Quay also struggled but manager Mark McGregor has swooped for released Wrexham duo Jay Colbeck and Kyle Parle, while also bringing veteran George Horan back to the league from Chester.
Meanwhile Huws Gray Alliance title winning manager Huw Griffiths has been charged with the responsibility of reviving Bala Town after his surprising departure from Cefn Druids.
Striker Mike Hayes arrives from Gap Connahs Quay to provide a goal threat, while veteran defender David Artell has also signed from Wrexham.
Wales’ other European representative, Aberystwyth Town will be desperate to qualify for the top six and have retained golden boot Chris Venables, but manager Ian Hughes has not significantly strengthened.
Newboys Cefn Druids will be unrecognisable with the Alliance champions releasing all but three of last season’s squad as new manager John Keegan makes his mark.
The Druids will look to replicate the success of Rhyl with four players joining from the Seasiders as part of 15 new arrivals at the Rock, including ex-TNS defender Chris King and striker Dan Griffiths from Walsall.
South Wales is now down to just two clubs who have all but traded personnel this summer.
Port Talbot have signed no less than seven from Carmarthen Town as they seek to avoid last season’s struggles and it is likely the sides will swap places this season.
The Old Gold have raided the Steelmen for Lewis Harling and David Brooks in return, though their most significant signing could be goalkeeper Lee Idzi from Merthyr Town.

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