Llandudno Junction boss Iain Bennett says that his side could be the surprise outfit in the upcoming Cymru Alliance season.
The 30 year-old will be managing the club in the second tier of Welsh football after being promoted last season.
Junction’s route to the Cymru Alliance was through a second placed finish in what a close fought encounter beteen themselves and Llangefni Town, with the club finishing ahead of them with just more goals scored.
The Conwy based side went up at the expense of Glantraeth who remained in the division for another season but Bennett put praise onto what Warren Gibbs and his team achieved last season.
“It was a strange one really, as I’d said to the players all along that as long as we take care of our business we can’t think about what they were doing, we went through a spell of about 12 games where we won 11 and really felt like we could push them to the end.
“To be fair to them they kicked on into another gear and fully deserved to win the league, we began to struggle towards the end from nerves.”
The feeling of securing promotion was one of joy and ecstasy, when their final day win confirmed that they would be going up to a higher division, and their win to secure were scenes that he had craved.
“The celebration at the end on the pitch and in the changing room was the best I’ve had on a football pitch and I would of liked to bottle that moment up.
The club have been fantastic, to finish 2nd 3 years in a row is tough but the players deserve the credit some have been there through the bad times. The people behind the scenes deserve the chance to represent the club in the Cymru Alliance.”
Bennett is looking forward to the challenge of the Cymru Alliance, having coached at Buckley Town and recently begun involvement with Connah’s Quay Nomads’ first team coaching. From battling at the likes of Flint to beating Finnish giants Helsinki, he is looking forward to utilising his experiences in the coming season.
“It’s great and anyone who enjoys football surely enjoys being challenged. I’ve been loyal to the players and have only brought in a handful of lads who suit the profile we need of players who want to work hard and succeed in that way,
I’ve coached in the league before with Buckley Town for a brief spell, aswell as the chance to work with the 1st team staff at Connah’s Quay Nomads this will give me some great insight into preparing for harder challenges, some of the players have played at this level before with various teams and I believe that some of them will thrive on the challenge of pitting themselves against some big names in the league, myself and the club are really looking forward to the season ahead.”
The Junction boss is confident his team can avoid relegation and says teams won’t like coming to the Flyover and play.
“If someone said to me now you will finish 4th bottom and survive I’d take that, if I’m honest though I actually think we can do better than that, I don’t think many teams will enjoy coming to our ground, it’s tight and intense and that will suit us I feel, I also believe that with the players we have brought in along with what we have that we can cause one or two upsets along the way, there is always a surprise team that exceeds expectation and there is no reason why that can’t be us.”
Bennett knows his side have got a tough start but he wants his side to take confidence into the game at Airbus and we will be prepared for the challenge.
“I’ve had many texts saying congratulations on promotion and all the best in the opening games against Airbus and Porthmadog, truth is you have to play everybody twice in a season so maybe away at Airbus is a daunting task but like anyone we will go there with confidence; we will be prepared and will be ready for the challenge.
I say to the players every week In training that if we stick together and carry out our game plans you can achieve anything at any level, there is no better way to start the season than playing away at the favourites for the title, it’s a game that the club should be immensely proud of, a club the size of Airbus in our 1st ever Cymru alliance game is brilliant.”
Bennett admits it’s a very tough league and the toughest its been for some time. The boss also knows theirs big club in the league but he says Llandudno Junction aren’t there to make the numbers up.
“It is a tough league and if I’m honest it has to be the toughest it has been for some time. Some well established clubs in the league with big reputations aswell as Rhyl and Airbus who were relegated from the Welsh Premier League and to even be mentioned in the same conversations is a great achievement for the club but we are not here to just make up the numbers.
I for one am looking forward to playing against some good friends within the league from previous playing experiences and coaching so we go into the season with optimism and a firm belief that we can compete and have a enjoyable season.”
(Featured Image: Jaggery)