The JD Welsh Cup third round commences on Saturday, and the big boys have arrived to take part in the competition.
The third round heralds the entry of all 12 JD Welsh Premier League clubs, who all bar two have drawn lower league opposition.
And while the top flight clubs’ chances look good on paper, the Welsh Cup is notorious for giant killings as smaller clubs give their all to go on a cup run in one of football’s oldest competitions.
As teams up and down the country prepare for their Welsh Cup test, Y Clwb Pel Droed has taken a look at five fixtures where an upset could be on the cards.
Prestatyn Town vs Ruthin Town
Having been promoted into the Welsh Premier this season, the Seasiders will be reunited with a former Huws Gray Alliance foe in Ruthin Town on Saturday.
Ruthin, a relatively small outfit in their respective league have started their campaign in strong fashion, currently sitting 10th in the table with wins over the likes of Rhyl and Queens Park.
They were red-hot favourites for relegation to the third tier this time last year, but a stunning turn of form under manager Chris Williams saw them stay up.
And similar to Prestatyn, they have a number of local players including Llyr Morris and Garmon Hafal who are capable of causing the Seasiders issues.
The hosts will remain formidable opposition as former Welsh Cup champions, and they’ll be looking for a resounding win to kick start a rise up the Welsh Premier League as they currently reside in the relegation zone.
Connah’s Quay Nomads vs Cwmbran Celtic
Cwmbran Celtic face a massive challenge as they face one of the JD Welsh Premier’s giants away from home, but the South Wales side’s history shows they could find a way past the Quay.
Welsh Football League One side Cwmbran Celtic reached the heady heights of the quarter finals in 2016, when they bowed out against a then top flight Port Talbot Town having already beaten pyramid giants Llanelli Town.
They are currently 10th in the table with 14 points from 10 games.
Celtic will up against the likes of former professionals in Michael Wilde and full time players such as Nathan Woolfe, but they will take inspiration from Goytre United, who led Nomads 2-1 at Deeside up until the 92nd minute.
Read more on Cwmbran’s massive game in Y Clwb Pel Droed’s interview with manager Lee Challenger here.
Ammanford vs Carmarthen Town
Welsh League Division Two side Ammanford will be smelling blood when they host Welsh Premier League strugglers Carmarthen Town.
Carmarthen have won just one game so far this season and are facing the prospect of relegation, whilst Ammanford will be in high spirits as they have reached the third round for the first time in 19 years.
They will look to youngster Gavin Jones, a striker, and number 10 Matthew Fisher as the key men to breaking down Carmarthen’s stubborn defence.
But the Old Gold will be pushing hard for a win against the minnows to get a currently-rare win on the road under the belt as they desperately try to improve league form.
Penybont vs Cardiff Metropolitan
Managed by former Welsh Premier League golden boot winner Rhys Griffiths, Welsh League Division One’s Penybont will be looking to take a huge scalp in Cardiff Met.
The Bridgend-based club is enjoying another strong season in the second tier, sitting fourth with eight wins from 12 games. Last season, they were runners up to Barry Town United and could be serious promotion candidates in the foreseeable future.
Cardiff Met will be confident as they are similarly flying high in the JD Welsh Premier League, shocking pundits by pushing TNS for the top spot. Coming off the back of a 0-0 draw to Connah’s Quay, manager Christian Edwards’ defensive wits will be pitted against Rhys Griffith’s knack for scoring goals.
Buckley Town vs Flint Town United
This Flintshire derby will no doubt bring a good atmosphere to the Globe Stadium, as Flint manager Niall McGuinness searches for his first win at the club against an in-form Buckley Town.
Third-tier Buckley will be no push over, as they’re on a run of 14 games unbeaten which stretches back to late August.
They will be gunning for a win against Flint, who are in a new era under ex-Rhyl boss Niall McGuinness who was brought in after Andy Holden left the club languishing in the bottom end of the table with just four wins so far.
With derby bragging rights and the financial benefits of the Welsh Cup at stake, there is every chance Buckley could push their neighbours all the way on Saturday.
Featured Image: Bala Town FC / Naomi Fflur