Cymru Alliance Previews: High-flying Wellmen head to Queen's Park

Reporter:

Thomas Norris

John Haseldin believes Holywell Town will benefit ‘massively’ from goalkeeper Shaun Pearson’s return.

After joining the Wellmen in the summer, Pearson made a belated debut in the 3-0 Welsh Cup win over Corwen.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Queen’s Park, Haseldin insists that Pearson will restore some much needed stability to the position.

“Shaun’s come in for us on Saturday after making his recovery from keyhole surgery on his knee in the summer,” he said. “He’s had an excellent debut for us and brings loads of  experience and a commanding presence to us at the back.

"It’s been a bit of a problem position for us and we’ve had to chop and change a lot, but hopefully he gives us a regular safe pair of hands now which will be massive for us.”

A fine run of form has seen Holywell climb to third but Haseldin insists his side cannot afford to be complacent ahead of their visit to Queen’s Park.

“Queen’s Park are always willing to have a go at teams and don’t seem to know when they’re beaten, particularly at home,” he said. “We know that we’ll have to match them for effort and desire otherwise we will fall short.”

Park manager Martin Ford admitted his side lacked confidence after their cup defeat at Llanrhaeadr.

But despite collecting just five points from their nine league games, Ford remains upbeat about his side’s chances this term.

He said: “We missed some really decent chances to score against Llanrhaeadr and just looked like we lacked a bit of belief. But all we need is one positive result to bring back some confidence to the side and there’s no reason why that can’t start with a home win this weekend.”

Nathan Buckley returns for Park, though Levi Roberts misses out through suspension, as does Holywell’s Brady McGilloway.

Steve Halliwell expects Gresford Athletic to come up against a revitalised Rhyl side at Clappers Lane tomorrow.

Relegated from the Welsh Premier last term, the Lilywhites have fared poorly in the Alliance thus far and their woes compounded by their Welsh Cup exit last weekend.

The result, a 3-2 defeat to Llandudno Albion, marked the end of Niall McGuinness’ tenure at the club with midfielder Mark Connolly installed as interim player-manager.

Athletic boss Halliwell believes tomorrow’s opponents will arrive with a “point to prove”.

He said: “It is a bit of a shock to see where they are in the league this season.

“As a club Rhyl were right up there with Airbus and Caernarfon as title favourites at the start of the season. But things haven’t gone well for them so far this season for one reason or another.

“Whether or not the Rhyl squad were playing for Niall I don’t know, but their results have been poor so far.

“But with a new manager in charge I’m sure they’ll be coming here with a point to prove and eager to come away with the points.”

Gresford’s poor early-season form appears to be behind them as they head into the clash on a five-game unbeaten run.

A 4-0 Welsh Cup win at Carno last weekend sustained their good form with Halliwell keen to build on their first clean sheet of the season.

“It was a decent all-round display from us and it was good not to concede, which has been an issue this season,” he said. “We’re confident and have a bit of momentum with us and hopefully that will continue after the Rhyl game.”

With first-choice Athletic keeper Mike Platt injured, Joey Jones will deputise after impressing against Carno, while Aaron Edwards and Josh Griffiths both return to the squad.

Andy Thomas insists Airbus have become accustomed to opponents ‘raising their game’.

Currently second in the table after seven wins from nine, Airbus have quickly adapted to the rigours of the second-tier and host Caersws tomorrow.

Thomas is braced for another rearguard action from a visiting side and insists the onus is on his players to break teams down.

He said: “To be fair, every game is tough in this league but even more so when you get teams raising their game.

“Teams will sit back and defend when they come to our ground with a lot of men behind the ball.

“I expect Caersws might do the same, so we have to find a way through them.

“The aim is get back into the Welsh Premier at the first attempt but we know we have to be consistent across the season to get ourselves out of a really tough division.”

Thomas has a full strength squad to select from with Stefan Edwards, Mark Jones, Aaron Bowen and Ashley Williams all set to return.

Flint Town United host in-form Denbigh Town, with Silkmen boss Andy Holden wary of the visitors’ potent attacking options.

 Denbigh boss Eddie Maurice-Jones led his side to four successive league wins in September scoring 14 times in total and earning Jones the league’s manager of the month award.

With Flint currently in 11th place after an indifferent start to the campaign, Holden has urged his players to take heart from their Welsh Cup win over Llanfair United.

He said: “They’re one of the best sides in the league right now with some attacking players like Josh Davies who can really hurt you.

“We have to be mindful of that and keep ourselves solid defensively, but we know we’ve got enough to get at them too.

“We have to take encouragement from the win over Llanfair, where I thought we played some really good football.

“We got ourselves into a good attacking rhythm and carried a lot of threat.

“Our issue has been consistency and if we can add a little to our game then I’m sure we can push ourselves up the league.”

With no new injury concerns Flint are expected to be unchanged from last weekend with Alan Bull and James Hooper leading their attack, while Chris Budrys and Wayne Riley will hope to finally receive clearance to make their debuts for the Silkmen.

Leaders Caernarfon Town go to Guilsfield, Penrhyncoch host Holyhead Hotspur, while Llandudno Junction visit Ruthin Town.

Email:

thomas.norris@nwn.co.uk

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