The last 16 teams in the JD Welsh Cup are preparing to do battle in the fourth round, with a number of exciting cup ties set to take place this coming Saturday. Nine Dafabet Welsh Premier teams remain in the competition, but there is every chance of a lower side pulling off a giant killing.
Here, we pick three games where the underdogs could come out on top.
Caernarfon Town vs Rhyl (17:15, The Oval, Live on S4C)
The game of the round, and for good reason. Caernarfon match up against Rhyl in a highly anticipated North Wales derby which is to be broadcast live on S4C Sgorio.
A powerhouse team of the Huws Gray Alliance, Caernarfon will fancy their chances at the Oval Ground on Saturday night. They are the defending league champions, but currently trail second tier league leaders Prestatyn by 13 points. Yet this could play to their advantage with the cup offering a break from league action and a one-time chance to reach the quarter final stages.
In their way is a Rhyl side who despite finishing in the bottom six have plenty to be positive about. Along with a new main sponsor, a number of influential players have joined the squad including Steve ‘The Beast’ Lewis, Ashley Young and Sion Edwards on a loan deal from Bangor City. Rhyl will be wary of the threat of Caernarfon at home, and look to utilise the power of Steve Lewis to break their opposition down.
There is more to this tie than meets the eye, as after being rejected for promotion to the Welsh Premier on a licensing technicality, the live TV game could be seen as Caernarfon’s chance to prove their ability to compete with top level clubs.
With an ever strong home crowd, the Cofis will definitely make themselves seen and heard in what promises to be a great cup tie.
Llanfair United vs Cefn Druids (13:30 ko, Mount Field)
Dafabet Welsh Premier League outfit Cefn Druids will not have an easy afternoon at Llanfair United’s Mount Field.
Powys-based Llanfair ply their trade in the Huws Gray Alliance, where they have pulled off some impressive recent results against strong opposition including Flint Town United and Caernarfon.
A poor run of results in December have seen Llanfair go just above the relegation zone in 13th, but a dramatic 3-3 draw last week against Flint, in which they went a goal down three times, will have given them ammunition to pull off an upset against Druids.
Cefn Druids are similarly towards the bottom in the top flight sitting 10th, and have also seen some good results of late. After two well spirited defeats against TNS over Christmas, they sunk Aberystwyth’s hopes of the top six with a 1-0 win and held top six qualifiers to a 0-0 draw on the final day of phase one.
This game was due to be played on Saturday 21 January owing to international Futsal call ups in the Druids squad, but a frozen Llanfair pitch sent it back to the original date. Although Druids are the favourites to reach the quarter finals from this game, Llanfair will push them all the way as they aim for a landmark cup victory.
Aberystwyth Town v Prestatyn Town (13:30 ko, Park Avenue)
Whilst Llanfair and Caernarfon have the home advantage in their potential upsets, Prestatyn Town are trying for theirs on the road. The Seasiders make the sizeable journey to Aberystwyth, where they will be gunning to get further in a competition they won in 2013.
Prestatyn Town lead the Huws Gray Alliance, but are also one of the most successful teams in the whole of Wales right now as they continue a run of 20 games unbeaten in the league. With promotion theirs to lose, they will want to show their quality against an Aberystwyth side who are looking to bounce back after missing out on the top six.
In some ways Prestatyn will be celebrating their mere presence at Aberystwyth after a winding up order threatened to fold the club in November, but quarter final qualification would be a real statement from the Seasiders, who have been absent from the top flight for two seasons.
This game is well worth keeping an eye on as despite the difference in league level, it is sure to be an equal battle on Saturday afternoon at Park Avenue.
Photo Credit: @TonPentreFC