THE New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe believes his side can take steal a march on their Welsh Premier League title rivals when the phase two fixtures start next week.

TNS travel to face Bala Town on Thursday, January 31 for a clash live on Sgorio’s Facebook page while leaders Barry Town United face Connah’s Quay Nomads two days later.

That means Saints could be two points clear before their rivals have kicked a ball, whole Ruscoe believe his side have the added motivation of beating a troublesome Lakesiders outfit.

“We’re happy to be kicking off those phase two fixtures against Bala Town – it’s a Thursday night game live on Facebook,” he said.

“It’s one where we can get an advantage by having the points on board and be two points clear before Barry and Nomads play on the Saturday.

“That could a lot of pressure on them. It’s nice to be playing on the Thursday; we’d have liked to have been at home but we’ll take that.

“I felt we should have beaten them away last time when we had 10 men. We beat them four times last season and this year we’ve had two draws against them.

“It’s about time we beat them.

“The players know that there’s 10 games to with 30 points to play for. They have their targets now of what I expect them to achieve and there’s not going to be much of a margin for error.

“Barry and Connah’s Quay are going to be taking points off each other, we’re going to be taking points off both off them.

It’s down to us – that’s not being disrespectful to the two teams but it’s a matter of us being focussed on what we do because there’s another five teams who are capable of taking points off each other.”

Saints are in Welsh Cup action this weekend as they travel Cymru Alliance leaders Airbus Broughton for a 2.30pm start.