Ammanford head into this weekend second in Welsh Football League Division Two after a 1-0 victory over Dinas Powys, but Gruff Harrison believes the club face their toughest test yet in their derby match against Pontardawe Town this weekend.
After three wins from their opening five games, the Carmarthenshire outfit can be content with their start, and Ammanford manager Harrison believes their good start to their season is down to a greater maturity than in previous years.
Ahead of the derby match he will be working even harder this weekend to ensure they can secure another important three points over rivals Pontardawe on Saturday.
“I feel we are more mature now than in years gone by and everyone is more focused game on game. We aren’t at the level I would like yet but we are getting results when not particularly playing to our best level which is a good sign. We are under no illusions though that it is only a decent start and there is a lot of work to do.”
Last season saw Pontardawe Town face a difficult challenge in Welsh Football League Division Two, and the club struggled somewhat down the lower end of the table. However, after a transitional season, the club have stabilised themselves with their young squad and have started the season with a fresh impetus, notching nine points on the board in their opening five matches and Harrison believes it is his side’s most testing challenge yet this campaign.
“[Pontardawe Town will be] Very tough and with all due respect, our toughest test yet. The added spice of a derby makes it a whole lot harder. We have prepared the best we can. We will go there to get a positive result, my players are ready. I’m a fan of their management team and I have a lot of respect for Andrew Stokes and the squad he is assembling. I also have utmost respect for them in every sense. The facility they have worked on, the best pitch in the league. Pontardawe are an example to follow. I look forward to my visit and a good game.”
Harrison’s charges have been on fire thus far this season, and fellow candidates have tipped the side as a dark horse for promotion. However, for now, the manager and his squad are staying grounded and are merely focusing on winning the next game ahead of them.
“We have set targets as a squad and as staff. We are all on the same page which is good. For now though our aim to simply to win every game we compete in.”
Many have noted the attack the boys in black and white boast, with Craig Frater, Gavin Jones, and Matthew Fisher already starting the season on red hot form. With goals in abundance between the trio, amplified by the return of the ever silky Brett Enoch on the wing, many believe it is their forward line that will be key in maintaining their status in the top three this term. However, Harrison insists that his team attacks and defends as one and that they are always focusing on keeping the goals out of their own net.
“In our team we try and defend as a team and attack as a team , so when we concede it hurts us all. The team is more than good enough to keep our goals against statistic low. Our aim is to concede as little as possible and score as much as possible. Only in May will we know if that is good enough.”
And added with the return of the still injured Bruno Forkuoh in a month’s time, the Ammanford faithful will be hoping that a charge for promotion remains a possibility, but that begins at Pontardawe Town this weekend.