Lewis urges his Major side to remain focused
Llantwit Major manager Karl Lewis is refusing to look to far ahead as his side chase promotion to Welsh League Two.
Major suffered only their second league defeat of the season on Saturday, going down 2-1 at home to top of the table STM Sports. Major have “eight difficult challenges” ahead to secure a promotion spot, but are very much in the driving seat with both points on the board and games in hand. Only Caerau and Chepstow Town could catch Major, although the latter could only do so if the Vale of Glamorgan side lost all of their remaining eight fixtures.
With games postponed due to cup runs as well as weather conditions, Major have just played six games in 18 days and still face the most gruelling run to the end of the season, including a spell of four games in eight days. Manager Lewis was alert to the potential pitfalls of so many games in such a short space of time to end the season, moving to bolster his squad ahead of the run in.
The Manager said, “We had to sign some senior ex-players before the transfer window to strengthen the depth of our squad. It’s a massive shame as I feel we have been punished by the league fixtures for doing so well in the cup competitions. We will have to assess the importance of the cups next year before the season.
“Consistency in team selection has completely gone as players aren’t contracted and obviously their day job comes first. This has had a massive effect on our style of football and our performances.”
Lewis is urging his squad to remain focused, even though promotion seems close to a certainty. But first he talked about the loss to STM Sports. He said, “On reflection of the game I am very disappointed as I feel we had enough chances second half to at least earn a point. But it wasn’t to be and congratulations to STM who took their two chances well. I just hope that the loss hurts the players as much as it hurts me as I’m still hurting from the Panteg loss [the only other league defeat this season]!
“[Tuesday] night will be a huge test of their character and I hope the boys rise to the occasion.
“Promotion is far from done. We have eight massive games left and I intend on competing in each one. We have a mentality that winning is a habit be it league, cup, preseason or even training. So we intend to approach every game at the maximum of our ability as there are eight difficult challenges ahead for us.”
This Tuesday night Cardiff side Bridgend Street are the visitors to the Windmill Ground. The Mission just missed out on promotion last season, but have struggled for consistency this time around. They find themselves with little to play for in the league, but a chance for significant silverware with the Nathaniel Cup final against Llanelli Town coming in May.
Lewis said, “Bridgend Street have had a great season in terms of the cup and this might have had an impact on their league season. I was lucky enough to watch their fantastic win in the semi final of the cup and I congratulate them on their achievement. They have a lot of strengths and I am more than aware of the experience and quality of player they possess. It will certainly be a very competitive difficult fixture. I just hope my players rise to the challenge.”
Demonstrating the focus he expects of his players, Lewis refused to be drawn on planning for next season, instead stating that promotion was not yet he done deal. He said, “I’m not thinking about next season until the whistle blows in the 90th minute of our last game. Following that, preparations will start for next year. Whatever league we are in next year I will back my team against anyone.”
Llantwit Major v Bridgend Street in Welsh League Three is on Tuesday 18 April with a 6.15pm kick off at the Windmill Road ground. Postcode: CF61 2UZ. The ground is a couple of minutes walk from the Llantwit Major railway station, which is on the Vale of Glamorgan line, served by trains from Cardiff to Bridgend via Barry. Admission is £3 for adults, including a programme. Some catering facilities are available.