Hi Iwan, let’s kick off with a squad update for this weekend coming, you’ve been unfortunate with Joe Heath being recalled to Connah’s Quay by Andy Morrison, and we know Paddy Rutter is still serving a suspension, do we have any further news on Mike Williams and Tom Dix who had both been struggling with injury of late?
Yes, ever since I’ve come in it’s been rather turbulent in terms of comings and goings, injuries and suspensions! Joe has returned to Connah’s Quay due to the two red cards they suffered against Cefn Druids last week. It’s a shame really as Joe fitted in straight away and put some solid performances in. Paddy was given three matches which is rather unfortunate as I wouldn’t class the incident as ‘serious foul play.’ Paddy’s made a genuine attempt to clear the ball and was beaten to it by a quick striker so I think the suspension imposed on him is rather harsh. Dixie needed a rest, he’s been through the wars of late and has been suffering with a niggling shoulder injury, but he’s now eager to get back in and finish the season strong. It looks like Mike’s season is over unfortunately. He has some cartilage damage in the knee and requires surgery which is a blow, however we have players who can adapt to certain positions and it’s an opportunity for others to step in which I look forward to them taking.
We mentioned in the Prestatyn post-match about your poor form against Newtown who seem to have quickly established themselves as a bit of a bogey team for you! We suppose the good thing with something like that is that eagerness to put it to bed and get that win right?
Definitely! Newtown are a good side though whom have been together for a number of years and I think they’re in a false position given the squad of players Chris has at his disposal. I’m not thinking about Newtown as we head into the game though. I’m more focused on the fact that we require three further points in order to ensure safety. That is the aim and the priority regardless of the opposition.
With Carmarthen and Prestatyn facing each other this weekend, a win would guarantee safety and help relax a little bit of tension with four games to spare, and who knows if Barry Town slip up in their game in hand against Prestatyn, a good run of results for us between then and Barry’s visit to The Giant Hospitality Stadium on 21st April could be a very interesting game and make a last gasp push for 7th spot?
In football you have to keep going until your targets are mathematically impossible. You have to have that mind-set. Again, safety is the main aim though and the sooner we confirm our status in the league the better. I can then look to rotate, give players shared game time and plan for next season. But it’s important to have something to strive for rather than allow for the season to filter away, so again until it’s impossible, we will keep fighting for seventh place.
Speaking of Barry Town, Toby Jones has gone down to Jenner Park to represent Wales in the International C fixture against England, a great reward for him following the season he’s had and a great experience for him, are you fan of the idea of the C Internationals?
I’ve known Toby for years having played and managed him previously. I truly believe that Toby is playing the best football of his career to date. I keep telling him that his work out of possession is as good as his quality in possession. The amount of work he puts in during games is phenomenal. When you work as hard as he does it’s very infectious and he deserves all the recognition he gets. I am a fan of the ‘C’ Internationals and the players chosen should feel privileged to have the opportunity. Even if it’s a Wales ‘F’ squad, you should still feel privileged to wear the country’s badge on your chest. I also get on really well with the Managers Mark Jones and Owain Tudur-Jones and know what a great camp they’ll have put on for the squad.
You’ve had some good contact time with the players since the Prestatyn game, a game we thought we’d achieved three points in until the decision to award Prestatyn an unclear penalty at the end, since been confirmed by the highlights that there is no clear evidence for it to be awarded, but the reaction you’ve had from the players has pleased you since in training in preparation for this Saturday?
Yes, we were unlucky not to pick up three points given how late in the game the incident was. It’s easy to feel dejected and sorry for yourselves when situations like those arise but the squad have worked their socks off in training this week. They’ve done a lot of running which I think is important if you want to give yourself a chance of finishing the season strong. There were a few moans and groans which is natural, but I can’t fault the effort. It has been old school to a degree with 70/70’s running which I’m sure one or two of them will have nightmares of for a very long time! One thing I will say is that the squad have been great since I’ve come in, in terms of embracing training sessions. When we train they’re focused and they do work hard. The running will be wound down now and training will be a lot more tactical as we look to prepare the best we can for Newtown on Saturday.
Saturday 24th March
Updated 14:43 - 20 Mar 2018 by Sam Williams
Newtown vs Llandudno
2.30pm Kick Off