Boxing Day Cymru Alliance Previews

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

Flint Town United manager Niall McGuinness is relishing the prospect of his first Flintshire derby against Holywell Town.

A popular fixture in the local football calendar, the festive derby attracted an 817-strong crowd at Halkyn Road last year.

Adverse weather forced the postponement of Flint’s last league game at Porthmadog and McGuinness believes his players have benefited from their enforced break.

Ahead of today’s clash, he said: “It’s been difficult with no games for the last two weekends but it's been a good few weeks for us training-wise.

"We’ve got through some really good preparation work over three days this week on the training ground and everyone’s looking forward to the derby now.

”It’s a massive game for the club and with it being a Christmas derby adds to the occasion too – I’m really looking forward to it.

”It’s my first one here at Flint, but as Rhyl manager I was in charge of a few against Llandudno and their the games you want to be involved in.”

The Silkmen are buoyed by the arrival of new signings Jacques Welsh and Jack Stewart, who have had spells with Bolton Wanderers and Rochdale respectively.

McGuinness added: “This break has given me the chance to have a look at a couple of players and we’ve managed to add a little competition to the squad, which should benefit us long-term.

”The two young lads who’ve come in will bring a bit more athleticism and to the squad and give us options in defence and up front.”

The third-placed Wellmen boast the second best away record in the league but manager John Haseldin maintains that form counts for little today.

The reverse league fixture in August ended in a 3-3 draw, before Flint took the honours once more in a 1-0 League Cup win in October.

Aggrieved that his side failed to win either encounter, Haseldin has targeted ‘any kind of victory’ at Cae-y-Castell.

He said: “It’s a game for the fans as much as the players and the fact there’s a few ex-Flint lads in our squad makes things a bit more interesting too

”It doesn’t really matter how you get the win in this kind of fixture – there’s no points given out for playing well or for neat attacking football.

”We felt we were the better side in both games against Flint this season but didn’t win either of them.

”So if it’s a case of having to grind out a scruffy one-nil win in difficult conditions then that’s what we’ll try to do this time.

”Flint always tend to raise their game for this fixture and a club of our stature take that as a massive compliment. It’s always tough at their place, but we came away from there with three points last season and that’s the aim again now.”

Wellmen duo Danny Desormeaux and Gareth Sudlow miss out with injury and suspension respectively, although Brady McGilloway should be fit.

Flint central defender Stefan Halewood misses out through suspension, but Joe Palmer and Mark Cadwallader return.

Queen’s Park boss Martin Ford is hopeful that wintry weather does not derail their home clash with Rhyl.

The Caia Park club have endured a disjointed campaign after playing just two competitive matches in two months because of postponements.

But Ford insists his players are ‘raring to go’ and are keen to atone for their 6-1 mauling at Rhyl earlier in the season.

He said: “It’s been really frustrating to have not played for so long. We’ve just been focused on keeping the lads match fit in training.

“We've had so many postponements and weekends without games that it has felt really stop-start and it’s not been easy for the lads at all.

“Rhyl is a massive game for us and all of the new lads who’ve come in over the last few weeks are all desperate to be involved.

“After starting well against Rhyl at their place we got turned over and hopefully we can run them close this time round.

“There’s a really positive mood here right now and I know the players are desperate to get back out on the pitch.”

Elsewhere, in-form rivals Ruthin Town and Eddie Maurice-Jones' Denbigh Town clash.

Both teams are in good form and they should have reason to be confident about the outcome, with Denbigh winning 5-3 at Rhyl in their last match, and Ruthin beating Welsh Premier League hosts Prestatyn Town 3-0 in the Welsh Cup.

Ruthin boss Chris Williams said: “This is a very young team and if they stick together there’s no saying what they can achieve in the next couple of years.

"Denbigh are going to be another big test for us, as they are doing really well, and we’ll have to be at our best to get anything from the game.”

Other clashes see leaders Caernarfon Town host Gwynedd rivals Porthmadog and Guilsfield entertain Caersws in a mid-Wales derby showdown.

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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