Briton Ferry Llansawel manager Carl Shaw says that he is aiming to keep his side together after earning promotion away at Cwmamman United last weekend.
Some managers opt to choose to bring in a new set of players after promotion to deal with the league but Shaw has said that he will remain loyal to his players after such a turnaround last season. He also admitted that some players will leave.
“I’m not looking at making many changes this summer there was a big turnaround of players last year, and I know we will probably lose a couple over the summer that’s football. We have told the squad that we want every one of them to stay with us because we are more than happy with the squad we have got.”
Throughout the years, he has taken the club up the divisions but this one is the one that stands out the most for Shaw and to bounce back after being relegated last season is pleasing.
“It’s fantastic, it’s my 3rd promotion in the 6 years I’ve been with the club, but this one is by far the most satisfying one. It means so much to everyone connected with the club, we thought we were wrongly relegated last year, so to go back up at the first attempt is something special.”
The Reds boss paid credit to those who allowed him to continue in his job as well as praising those who have worked around him this season.
“It just shows the togetherness we have got at the club. I’ve got to give a big thank you to the committee who backed me last summer, to give me the support to carry on and get us back to Division 1.
I would also like to give a massive thanks to my backroom staff of Ray Pennock, Gary Elsey, Ian Hillier and Gareth Jones who have been fantastic to work with and have supported me throughout the season.”
As first placed Llanelli confirmed their title win yesterday, known for their attacking presence, Ferry’s promotion has come in a different way in that they aren’t high-scoring team but instead the emphasis is on defence, where they are able to boast the second best defence.
“We work very hard on the defensive side of things, and we always say if we can keep a clean sheet we will win games and that has come true this season. The most pleasing factor is we haven’t had the same back 4 all season so to have only conceded 31 goals in 28 games is a fantastic achievement and a big pat on the back for Ian Hillier who’s played in every game and marshalled his defence brilliantly.”
With opponents Cwmamman United themselves in a battle for promotion as they chase that final third spot, sitting behind Pontypridd Town, Shaw was under no illusions that it would be a tough task but the game was won by a singular goal, with revenge the key to getting the win as the team wanted to avoid a Cwmamman United double.
“Going up to Cwmamman last Saturday was always going to be very difficult, they are a good side and like you said going for promotion themselves, but I was confident of us getting the win we needed, we have been playing well, and the boys have trained hard and you could see they wanted to get the job done last week and after they beat us back in January the boys wanted to make sure they didn’t do the double over us.”
The scorer of the singular goal? Gareth Jones who coolly dispatched a penalty, giving Ferry the three points. Shaw had faith in his penalty taker to score despite not being the clubs usual penalty taker.
“It was a fantastic moment, I knew when Gaz picked the ball up he would score, he has scored so many important goals for me and the club, and I know how much the club means to him and what that goal meant to him,.
Gaz is not our normal penalty taker and only took it because Steve was ill and not playing! But that shows the character of the man to step up and take such an important pen to get the club back where we think we should be.”
The ambition for next season now will be for the side to remain in the division and avoid being in a position of relegation. Shaw also believes his side can emulate the work of Cwmbran Celtic this season, who look to have achieved a top five finish after their first season back in Division One.
“Our first target will be to stay in the division and make sure we are not in the same position as last year, but I have every confidence in our side that we can hopefully do what Cwmbran Celtic did this year and be pushing the right end of the league!”
(Featured Image: Briton Ferry Llansawel)