TNS return to the field of battle when cross border rivals Newtown visit Park Hall on Friday night.

Both sides sat out last weekend with TNS top of the table but having suffered their first defeat of the league campaign at Aberystwyth Town.

The result ensured Newtown were able to maintain pressure at the top following a 3-3 draw at home to Bala Town.

However the Saints still lead by six points from surprise challengers Flint Town United with Newtown leading the chasing pack.

Coach Anthony Limbrick said the Saints would go into the game bidding to get back to winning ways.

"We have analysed the Aberystwyth game over the last week or so," said the TNS chief. "We certainly played well enough and created enough chances to win the game.

"However we did not take our chances on the night and when that happens it always leaves you vulnerable so one mistake cost us in the end.

"Aberystwyth defended well and all credit to them but ultimately it was a match we should have won."

Border Counties Advertizer: Anthony Limbrick. (Pic by John Smith/FAW).

The New Saints manager Anthony Limbrick. (Pic by John Smith/FAW).

Limbrick insisted his players had not been idle during the international break and instead training hard ahead of their festive schedule.

"One period of our season is now over and it was unfortunate to end on a losing note," said Limbrick. "In saying that we now have a busy period of fixtures leading up to the split in new year, starting against Newtown on Friday night.

"We have been training well and all the players are looking to help the club get back to winning ways."

As ever the Saints have analysed their opponents who have emerged one of the surprise pace-setters last season.

Newtown have carried the form from the second half of last season which secured European football into the current campaign and in striker Aaron Williams and winger Lufumpa Mwandwe have the qualities to hurt any side in the JD Cymru Premier.

Limbrick insisted his charges would be prepared.

"We will be preparing in training and we will be ready for what will be another tough match," said Limbrick. "Certainly they have the players who will look to exploit us and we must be prepared.

"We have had some tight games against Newtown in the past and I expect this one to be no different."

The Saints chief said the Montgomeryshire side were one of several clubs capable of competing for Europe this season.

"If you look at the table and results this season then it would be fair to say the league has several clubs who are comparable," said Limbrick. "Flint and Newtown are leading the chase and you could add a few other sides into that mix.

"It means every game is difficult and anyone can beat anyone.

"From our own point of view we will not look too much at the opposition and whether it is a derby like it is on Friday night and simply pay Newtown the respect we serve to all our opponents," added the upbeat Saints chief.