Mold Alexandra joint-manager Michael Cunningham is calling on his side to bounce back from last season’s relegation and gain promotion back to the Cymru Alliance immediately
One-half of the joint managerialship in Michael Cunningham reckons his Mold Alexandra side are all set up For Cymru Alliance football and will be putting their best efforts into gaining promotion from the Welsh National League Premier.
Cunningham has had much experience coaching in and around the tier 3 level, beginning at the now defunct Argoed before moving to Saltney (for 4 years) and then the NEWFA U18 representative side.
Him along with joint manager Neil Wynne were appointed as joint- managers of Mold from a very strong WNL Division 1 side in Rhydymwyn in November 2016 in an attempt to save the club from relegation but without much chance to get to know the squads strengths and weaknesses before facing tough Cymru Alliance opposition, relegation did indeed occur as the team finished 14th.
The club now find themselves amongst favourites for promotion from the WNL premier along with teams like Brickfield Rangers, Buckley Town, FC Nomads of Connah’s Quay , FAW Trophy winners Chirk and a Cefn Albion side closely associated with Cefn Druids of the WPL.
“Last season was a big disappointment but we only had ourselves to blame, after Christmas we weren’t good enough and we still had a chance to get safe with six games to go and we didn’t do enough to stay up the important thing this summer was to get a positive vibe back around the club with bringing the right players in and keeping the players we wanted to keep.”
Cunningham said this when discussing preparations for the new season. A season he hopes will prove to be successful despite the challenges that lie ahead.
“The club is all set up for Cymru Alliance football and we want to be at as high a level as possible so everyone wants to bounce back at first attempt but there is no illusion on how difficult that will be.”
The club have also been busy transfer wise bringing in a plethora of talent. WNL experience and players from the higher tier, Cymru Alliance side Flint Town United are among the signings that are tasked with the job of gaining promotion. .
“There has been a busy summer of arrivals and departures. When we took over it was difficult bringing the right players in with most tied up at other clubs. We have been busy; Pete Martin, Niall Dawson and Mark Williams have arrived from Flint, Matty Bennet arrives from Offa, Aled Reece from Brickfield and Adam Renshaw from Hawarden.”
Mold Alexandra have even persuaded Callum Freeman who had been playing his football in Melbourne, Australia for Mold, Wales.
“Callum Freeman joins from Clifton Hill in Australia and Tom Hyndman, Mark Askey and Hayden Hughes also join the squad so overall we have got players in we have wanted and we feel we have a stronger squad now than last season.”
With all the influx of new signings, Cunningham believes that they can cement themselves as stand-out players over the course of the season.
“Pete Martin and Niall Dawson can both be big successes this season, they both need a full season playing week in week out; we watched them last season and were impressed with them. Aled Reece is looker sharper each week so expect him to be amongst the goals as well as our other forwards.”
If promotion is to be achieved though it will be down to a team effort and can’t pinpoint anyone who will stand out from last season but believes in his squad.
“I find it difficult to pin point individuals the lads we have retained from last season have come back looking hungry so we feel we have a solid squad with lads who can make a difference in the final 3rd”
But as Cunningham previously mentioned, there is “no illusion” on how difficult the league will be with so many sides capable of achieving promotion.
“I think the league will be as tight as it’s ever been Brickfield and FC Nomads stand with two great management teams who have brought experienced players in. As well as this Saltney have made some good signings and Cefn Albion have done the same so I expect them to be right up there. Add Chirk, Buckley, Llanuwcllyn into and it will be a very tight league”
Although Cunningham thinks pre-season has left them in good stead to achieve their promotion winning target after some impressive victories.
“(We’ve had) a pleasing pre season which can be difficult on the back of relegation and winning games has brought confidence back to the whole club”
Mold Alexandra’s first competitive game occurs on Saturday 5th August when they take on FC Nomads in the first round of the NEWFA cup before going on to face them again in their league opener on Friday 11th August.
(Featured Image: The 94th Minute)