With the January transfer window coming to a close last week, we decided to look at the month in review here at The Giant Hospitality Stadium with regards to the ins and outs at the club. It was a busy month for Manager Iwan Williams in what is considered to be an extremely difficult window, increasingly so as the league gathers momentum in growth with more and more players protected by long term contracts, and business dealings becoming more intricate.
The Manager has shown signs of his desire to freshen things up in terms of personnel, and is trying to implement his way with the squad he has inherited here at the club as well as assisting the newcomers in making the transition in to the team. We know that things don’t happen overnight and there’s nothing quite like a pre-season to really stamp your authority, a luxury the current Manager didn’t have, but with a view on the future as well as the present we can review the dealings taken place so far:
Alex has come in to the club with tremendous pedigree and experience for a man of only 22. Having already been on the books of Peterborough and Wycombe Wanderers, Alex has experienced the FA Cup 3rd Round proper as he deputised for Matt Ingram against Aston Villa in a 1-1 draw for the latter. Holyhead based Alex began his career at Amlwch Town so knows the North Wales football scene well, as well as the Welsh Premier League having also played 7 times for Bala Town before his move to Chester FC in 2016. A Welsh Youth International Alex was released by the National League side this window gone and joined us in a late deadline day deal on January 31st.
Harri is a product of our Academy system and only signed for our development squad in the summer of 2017. With some fine displays at the back for the U19’s at both centre half and on the left hand side, Harri was a master of defending in a 1 on 1 situation earning plaudits from current U19’s Manager Sean Eardley. Iwan made the decision to promote Harri to the 1st Team to add some strength in depth to the squad in defence, and reward Harri for his efforts with the youth side this season.
Wes joined from Cymru Alliance outfit Airbus UK at the beginning of the window, brining previous Welsh Premier League experience with him having featured over 60 times for Connah’s Quay Nomads between 2015-17. Having started his career at Wrexham, Wes played regular football in the National League for the likes of Altrincham, Telford, and Colwyn Bay after Wrexham before he made the move to the WPL with Connah’s Quay. Wes can operate in both defence and midfield on the right hand side and has a right foot designed for dead ball situations, which helps him to quite often feature on the assist and goalscoring charts.
Although Matty joined earlier in the season as Iwan’s No.2, it wasn’t until the registration period opened on 1st January that he was eligible to feature on the pitch. Although now 35 years of age Matty still has more to offer on the pitch than some may give him credit for, with exactly 300 appearances in the Welsh Premier League for Rhyl, Connah’s Quay, and The New Saints Matty’s knowledge of the league is invaluable both on and off the field. On the books of Manchester United as a youngster our No.7 showed his quality when playing all 120mins of our JD Welsh Cup tie with Ruthin Town, grabbing a late equaliser to force the tie in to extra time and prevent a shock exit.
Like Harri, Joe was essentially promoted to the senior setup following his man of the match performances in the U19’s, as well as in the Welsh Alliance for Llandudno Albion. Although only 17 Joe signed for the Albion for 18 months before making the move to our senior setup, allowing him to come in at a young age prepared for the physicality of men’s football. A creative outlet in the middle of the park, Joseph follows in the footsteps of his Dad Joe Carey Snr in signing for Llandudno, who to this day is held in high regard when having graced the turf in Black and White.
Llandudno lad Robbie Parry has made the return to his hometown club on loan from TNS having completed a similar deal in the past. The young winger has been on the books at Wolves and Stoke City before signing for the Welsh Champions in 2015. Robbie is a skilful winger who can play either side and upsets defences with his direct style of play, and although on loan until the end of the season, Iwan will be hoping that a successful run in the side could benefit both parties.
Jay Gibbs may have come as a surprise to some signing from the Manager’s former club Caernarfon Town in the Cymru Alliance, however having been released by the Cofi’s Iwan made no hesitation in snapping the talented midfielder up. The pair had a great relationship in the past with many seeing Jay’s best football under Iwan, and Llandudno fans will be hoping for the same again when he graces the Welsh Premier League. Although capable of producing moments of magic on the field, Jay will be on the sidelines for now as he serves a suspension picked up at Caernarfon Town before his released.
7 signings may seem a lot of activity for the Winter Window but again with the Manager looking to build his own team, the young man in charge has been brave enough to ring the changes as he feels fit. We have seen Alex and Wes come in for the departed Dave Roberts and Danny Taylor, the addition of Jay and Robbie to the squad along with the experience and influence of Matty both on and off the field, and the promotion of Joseph and Harri to the senior setup from the Academy.
Updated 15:13 - 5 Feb 2018 by Sam Williams