EL Play-offs: Newtown eyeing “massive shock” at Bangor City

Newtown boss Chris Hughes says his side will be firm underdogs when they travel to Bangor City in the Welsh Premier League’s Europa League play-offs this weekend.

The Robins head to the Bangor University Stadium in what will be their fourth play-off appearance in as many years, following a resurgent second half of the season that has seen them catapulted from the relegation zone to seventh.

But while confident of claiming a result, Hughes insists that Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s side are overwhelming favourites.

He said: “They’ve beaten us twice and their home record is second only to TNS.

“They’ve got some good players, some of whom have played in the Premier League and Football League, so they’re a good team and we’ll respect them.

“But we know what they’re about. We know their strengths and we know their weaknesses. We’re prepared for that.

“It [a win] would be a massive shock. Probably one of the biggest shocks the play-offs have seen.”

Newtown have lost both their previous two league meetings with the Citizens, and will aim to make it third time lucky without WPL top scorer Jason Oswell, who is away in Uganda as part of his training to become a physiotherapist.

“He’s going to be a miss,” Hughes added. “I’m not going to hide that. But it’s something we’ve known about for a long time, so we’ve managed to have a look at it and plan for it.”

Oswell’s 22 goals have proved instrumental in Newtown’s turn in fortunes, with a place in the play-offs helping to ease what Hughes believes has been unwarranted criticism of his side.

“We’re probably guilty of overachieving in recent years and people have been using that against us.

“It’s no secret that we had a budget cut last summer by the board, and expectations were to finish 10th and above and we’ve done that. I was confident of turning it around. The players have been great all season and are getting their just rewards.”

(Featured Image: Graham Haines)

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