Caernarfon Town boss Sean Eardley has leapt praise onto his supporters by saying they are a huge part to their promotion bid.
The Cofi Army has supported Eardley in their hundreds and most recently, The Oval saw a crowd of over 1000 spectators, as Eardley masterminded a 2-0 victory over Barry Town United, in one of the shocks of the round.
Last season, the fixture between Caernarfon Town and Porthmadog, drew a crowd of over a thousand spectators as attendances soured in the division. The Cofis boss says they can play a part in this derby fixture and for the rest of the season.
“They’ve been different class since I’ve come in, the messages of support I received when I was appointed manager were truly overwhelming.
I’m a passionate person and they match that passion, they have a crucial part to play from now until the end of the season.”
Eardley initially joined the club as an assistant but was promoted following the departure of popular manager Iwan Williams, who left for Welsh Premier League side Llandudno.
He has since kept the Canaries at the top of the division and are still going strong in the JD Welsh Cup.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, the first week was a little manic but the lads made the transition easy and I feel my feet are firmly on the table now.”
In some cases, supporters tend to look at tables in recent years and see how many points are needed for promotion. Caernarfon are currently top of the division but are refusing to be carried away, despite being Christmas number one in North Wales.
“I do in the sense of the boys have been terrific up until now, but we are grounded and we’re only at the halfway stage like you’ve said, there’s plenty of twists and turns left I’m sure.”
As Caernarfon hold a slender three-point gap over second-placed Denbigh Town, it’s the all-important matter of a local derby with Porthmadog over the festive period.
“Of course, they can be nervy and full of intensity, but that’s what is expected.
It’s vital your emotions are kept in check as sometimes you can get embroiled in the occasion, but Barry was a good example, we played the game and not the occasion and we came out on top.”
Festive football isn’t a newly introduced thing and has existed at amateur and semi-professional football for the last few years. After experiencing football over the period as a player and now a coach, Eardley sees two sides of the matter.
“The modern-day football fan obviously loves the festive period, I’m torn really as I’m no longer playing, as a coach I don’t mind it but I can see why semi-professional players get frustrated.
They sacrifice a lot to be physically ready but in the Caernarfon v Porthmadog game with over 1000 in attendance who wouldn’t want to play in front of that many spectators at our level.”
As the two prepare to go to battle, Porthmadog born assistant manager Richard Davies will be behind enemy lines, as a Caernarfon representative. But despite the rivalry between the two, there’s plenty of mutual respect for one another.
“My assistant Rich Davies is a Port lad so he knows many of the players, but knowing Paps, Guy and Ormy for as long as I have they’re fantastic football people!
Porthmadog is a club I respect greatly,you’re always in for a nice welcome and very tough game! They have good players who can hurt you so we’ll have to be at our best to get a positive result.”
(Featured Image: Paul Evans of Oval Ways)