IN a Welsh Premier League campaign that looks as though it is certain to be one of the most exciting one to date, who can go on to lift the prestigious Golden Boot at the end of it?
With the departure of last season’s WPL top scorer, Jason Oswell, to Stockport County, we’re guaranteed to see a new face lifting the award this year.
Many players have come firing out the blocks in the first three matches, whilst others, who might be considered favourites, have been slow to kick start their campaign.
Here, I analyse who might be able to finish in pole position as top scorer and choose my top five candidates for the prize …
The former football leaguer may be 36 years old now, but he’s still got it!
GTF has influenced the Bangor City campus big time since his move to the club last season and helped them reach the European qualifying rounds via the play-off’s in his role as player-manager.
Now, with the arrival of new manager, Kevin Nicholson, he continues to have a great effect on the Citizens.
So far, he’s got three goals in two appearances during 2017/18 and I do believe that he can certainly keep his fine form going and be Bangor’s main man in terms of goals.
With his great first touch and consistent goal scoring, he’s certainly proving that age is just a number!
Another man who’s into his thirties, but equally as great a goal scorer – Wilde has been tearing the Welsh Premier League apart for many a year now, first making his debut for TNS way back in 2002-03.
Since then, the 34-year-old has gone on to score 156 goals in just over 300 appearances in the WPL and has earned himself a reputation as a prolific hitman.
Upon moving to Connah’s Quay last season, Wilde struggled a little as he only scored three times in 20 matches.
This season, he’s already nearly matched that tally, scoring twice in the Nomads’ opening three matches of the campaign and he’s looking as sharp as ever as he leads the line in a season that Quay hope to truly challenge for the title.
Roscrow well and truly burst onto the scene with Cardiff Met last season as the club enjoyed a formidable campaign, narrowly missing out on a place in the Europa League qualifiers.
The winger finished as the Archers’ joint-top scorer (six goals alongside Eliot Evans) and he looked like a great player who had bags of potential.
This season, the 22-year-old continued to prove that and has three goals in his first three appearances so he’ll most certainly be one to watch as he is most likely to be Cardiff Met’s main man once again.
He’s a player who takes on defenders and knows how to get past his man. He’s also not afraid to shoot from distance and he scored a wonderful goal against Bangor in Met’s 3-1 win over them at Cyncoed just two weeks ago, so he’s already shown what he’s capable of.
He’s a dark horse for that Golden Boot award in my opinion.
Bala Town skipper Venables has already scooped the award on three occasions and so you’d have to be mad to rule him out of the running for this year too.
He’s probably the most prolific midfielder to have ever played in the Welsh Premier League, having racked up 138 goals in just under 400 appearances for the likes of Caersws, Welshpool, Llanelli, Aberystwyth and of course Bala.
The 32-year-old’s highest scoring season came in 2014-15 when he played for Aberystwyth. He scored 28 goals in 27 appearances that year and proved that he was one of the best around.
This season, he’s currently on two goals in his first three games, so he’s certainly not showing any signs of slowing down.
He’ll be aiming to fire the Lakesiders into Europe (or possibly beyond!) once again this season and I expect him to reach at least 15 goals, as his past record proves that he is more than capable of doing so.
A surprise early front-runner for the Golden Boot, Fletcher has seemingly come out of nowhere to be in contention for the award.
A change in management at TNS, from Craig Harrison to Scott Ruscoe, has seen Fletcher starting every game ahead of fans favourite Greg Draper. The departure of Scott Quigley to Blackpool, clearly meant that Ruscoe had big plans for the 26-year-old and they seem to be paying off at the moment.
Despite only scoring once in 16 appearances for the champions last season, the management has shown faith in Fletcher to lead the line and he is re-paying that with goals. Three in three so far, including a winner against Barry Town last Friday night.
It’s clear to see that he’s relishing his role within the side and is benefitting from having the likes of Ryan Brobbel, Jamie Mullan and Adrian Cieslewicz around him, providing the creative sparks.
Many fans would have expected the aforementioned Draper or even Alex Darlington to lead the line for the Saints this year, but it is Fletcher who is truly coming up with the goods for his side.
Much like Roscrow, he’ll be fancied as one of the outsiders to go on and lift that award at the end of the season.