Scott Ruscoe will send his players off on an extended weekend with words of warning in their ears: Don’t waste this chance.

The New Saints returned to the top of the table when they picked up a 2-0 win away at title rivals Connah’s Quay Nomads on Saturday night, with goals from Aeron Edwards and Ryan Brobbel.

The Saints sit this weekend out but return to face Bala Town at Park Hall the following Friday night and the Saints boss wants his players to drive home their advantage.

“We’ve said it so many times now but there is no point going to Connah’s Quay Nomads and winning, only to slip up at home to Bala Town next week,” said Ruscoe.

“I told the players on Saturday that they’ve had a second chance because so many people were writing them off in November and December, saying it wasn’t the TNS of old.

“But the players knew they had the chance to go top and they took it and I told them they now have that chance to go four points clear if they win the game in hand.

“We need to show the consistency of the last month, otherwise people will take that as weakness.”

Ruscoe admitted he would rather be playing than sitting out this weekend.

He added: “We haven’t got a game this weekend, but are back in action. Over the season, I’ve become more flexible about giving the lads their time off. In the past, we’d never really had this much time off. We were out of the League Cup and we were out of the Irn-Bru Cup so in the second stage of the season we’re getting more time off.

“The lads are having long weekends, coming back refreshed rather than playing lots of games.

“Look, I’d prefer to have as many games as possible but for whatever reason we’ve not been fortunate enough to be in the two cup finals so far.

“We’ve had more time off but this week won’t be any different than others – we’ll work hard and then have another long weekend before we start again.”