Berriew are currently the leaders of the Spar Mid Wales League entertain bottom of the league side Montgomery, Berriew manager David Jones gives his pre-match thoughts.
Berriew didn’t have a fixture last week, meaning that they last played a game over two weeks ago.
I am not particularly worried about us being rusty. We have played a lot of games already this season so I don’t think a weekend off will do us any harm. We trained on Wednesday (21st) so I’m confident we will be ready for the games over the festive period.
Rhayader and Carno played to a nine goal thriller with Rhayader blowing a three goal lead, this game had an impact on the race for who was top as Christmas, as it was a 2nd vs 3rd clash.
“I was aware of the game last Friday. I was actually in the Isle of Man at the time ahead of a friends wedding on the Saturday but I was keeping up with the score on Twitter.
I was expecting it to be a close game but didn’t expect 9 goals given that both teams had been so strong defensively this season. It was a big game in the season and it is nice after that result to still be too at Christmas, but there is still an awful long way to go.
We have a lot of tricky away games to play in the second half of the season and of course we still have to play Carno twice! So there is a lot left to play for.”
Of course some managers favour football at Christmas but others believe it should be scrapped.
“I am a massive fan of football being played over the festive period, even at this level. I think by Boxing Day most people are fed up of being stuck in the house eating and watching television and just want to get out.
I think that’s fairly obvious by the bumper crowds that most teams get for Boxing Day games.”
It’s a top vs bottom clash, with Berriew in fine form and Montgomery in disarray, some may feel that this fixture is over before a ball has been kicked
“Whilst we are obviously on a very good run at the moment, the result is far from already decided and both our performance and most importantly attitude needs to be spot on.
The classic example of a teams attitude not being right was our defeat at Montgomery back in August, which is their only win this season to date as well as our last defeat in the league. Hopefully the lads have learnt their lesson and there won’t be a repeat of that performance!”
There was interest in star striker Richard Davies recently, with some clubs trying to lure him away but he has remained committed.
“There has been some interest in Richard, including teams from higher leagues, but he has stayed and has committed to us which I am obviously delighted about.
Richard is a very important member of our squad both on and off the pitch, and I think he realises we have as good a chance of silverware as anyone seeing we are currently top of the league and still in three cups, including two quarter finals.”
Does anyone miss the game against Montgomery or Machynlleth? As the festive period comes up, player availability is always questioned, some through personal commitments and others through suspension.
“Ross Harris is suspended for the Montgomery game after picking up his 5th yellow card against Bow Street, but aside from that as far as I know we have everyone available.
In fact the squad is slightly strengthened with Will Gittins and Sam Prince being home from university for Christmas.”
A double header over the Christmas period means that changes to the side may need to be made to ensure the fitness of the players
“There will probably be a few changes in the starting XI between the two games, but that’s pretty normal for us.
I am lucky to have a very strong squad of 16, 18 when the university lads are available, all of whom are good players, good lads and able to play.
Whilst I wont make wholesale changes it’s important to pick the right team for that particular games and also freshen it up slightly.”