Bangor City host gap Connah’s Quay Nomads on Friday evening in a game that could end up vital to both team’s European aspirations.
Although this will be the main topic of the battle, the fixture also sees two of the league’s most experienced players clash.
Recent Bangor signing and striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher will match up against Connah’s Quay captain and defender George Horan, in a battle where experience will be key and for the most part equal with a combined age of 69 between the two.
During his career Taylor Fletcher has become a cult hero at a range of pro clubs including Huddersfield, Leyton Orient, Leicester City and Blackpool where he played in the Premier League. He has an enviable record as a striker, having scored in each five top divisions of English football.
Taylor Fletcher’s named is enshrined in the football history books as the scorer of the Football League’s 500,000th goal and Blackpool’s first ever Premier League.
He made headlines when he signed for Bangor at the end of January in a move which divided opinion, but he silenced some critics with an impressive debut against Llandudno in the JD Welsh Cup, opening his account with a goal which completed a crowd pleasing performance.
He comes up against George Horan, who despite not reaching a Premier League has proved to be a formidable centre back at each of his clubs. Horan is regarded as a Chester legend and was voted their greatest ever captain, but his career in fact started at Bangor in 1999.
He then joined Connah’s Quay in his first spell for the club before joining Rhyl, where he was named in the league’s team of the season for four years running. Moving back to Chester, he captained the reformed Cestrian side to three consecutive league titles with 159 appearances and 20 goals.
Horan has proved a major asset to the Nomads, and recently proved he still has plenty to offer when he came back from a four month injury spell to score a hat trick against Airbus on his return.
It is worth noting that despite their seniority, both players have proved they have significant levels of fitness and will look to test each other’s speed on the evening.
Physicality will no doubt play a part with both Taylor-Fletcher and Horan strong and commanding presences, but in the light of a red card for Bangor captain Roberts last week, the Citizens will be wary of any big tackles flying in.
Bangor manager Ian Dawes may use the likes of Branco and Nardiello to compliment Taylor-Fletcher’s power, but they must negotiate a way past Kai Edwards, who will also be on hand in the Nomads’ strong back line.
Bangor’s home advantage could help spur the hosts on to victory, but Andy Morrison’s disciplined stance will ensure Nomads are not easily rattled with such characters as Horan in the side.
There will be battles all over the Bangor University stadium on the night, but Horan and Taylor-Fletcher’s will be one of considerable interest to fans in attendance, who may just be in for another Welsh Premier classic.
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