Bala Town Season Preview
The 2015/2016 was an impressive season for Bala Town. The small Gwynedd outfit finished second, making them the best performing part time team in the Welsh Premier League. They took the title challenge with The New Saints to the final few matches of the season, which is testament to the players and coaching staff who have worked hard to emulate them as one of the best teams in Wales.
Colin Caton has been in charge of Bala Town for 13 years in some capacity. Having taken over as manager in 2003, he guided the club through the divisions and into Europe. Having moved into a Director of Football capacity a couple of seasons ago, he the moved back into the managerial role late last season.
Caton has been with Bala for over 13 years, and will know the club inside out. He is no doubt the best man to lead the club as they attempt to win the Welsh Premier League title and will hope with his development in his attempt to get the UEFA Continental Pro Licence, he can continue to drive Bala Town forward in the league and in Europe.
Current Squad and New Signings
This season will be a testing one for the Lakesiders. With Gap Connahs Quay and Airbus making significant improvements to their squad, both will be on the hunt to chase down Bala. With few additions to the squad it could be pointed out that it would be difficult to see Bala emulate their league achievements from the past two seasons, but by bringing in quality players like Chris Venables from Aberystwyth Town, Bala’s intention is simple; to chase down TNS. Venables has won the Welsh Premier League’s golden boot award three times in the last three seasons, and thus adds real firepower to the Bala attack that attempts to break TNS’ stranglehold on the trophy.
Venables could have a real effect in deciding where the Welsh Premier League title heads come the end of the season, however other new addition Stuart Jones will keep the opposition at bay at the other end of the field.
But, they will also be reliant on their current squad members with Ashley Morris considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the Welsh top flight. Their lethal crossing from John Irving and Ryan Valentine will also be key if Venables is to secure a fourth golden boot in succession.
Pre-season Prediction: 2nd
I don’t think Caton and his men have thoughts of dropping off the pace anytime soon and although it would take one heck of a mighty effort to finish above TNS for the title, a cup win is far more realistic. They’ve come close before to major silverware before and I would expect that this season it would be a priority to achieve at least a place in the final.
The brand new 3G pitch will prove pivotal to Bala’s playing style and not one I see that will have a negative impact, given the amount of times they have played on these pitches at other grounds throughout the season in the past.
My prediction for this season would be another 2nd placed finish in the league with a major trophy being proudly displayed on the mantelpiece at Maes Tegid come the end of the season.