Can Newtown live without this deadly striker in play-offs?
With the Welsh Premier League play-offs rapidly approaching, will Newtown be able to cope with the loss of Jason Oswell?
Newtown have had a sensational second-half of the season and it has seen them creep into the Welsh Premier League play-offs, in seventh place – six points ahead of Cefn Druids.
After phase one of the Welsh Premier League, surviving would have been the main target for Chris Hughes’ men, but following a tremendous run, Newtown now find themselves in a position to qualify for a Europa league qualifying spot after making the Welsh Premier League play-offs.
They haven’t lost a single game since the turn of the year and were the first team to thwart The New Saints after their world record winning streak. They’re going into the play-offs in incredibly good stead, but they’re going to have to do it without their star man and arguably the Welsh Premier League’s best striker, Jason Oswell.
Like Newtown, Oswell has had an inspired second-half of the season and finished top of the Welsh Premier League scoring charts, with 22 goals in his 31 appearances for the Robins.
Oswell will miss the play-off game with Bangor after it was confirmed last month the striker had to go out to Uganda which is related to his final year of placement for his degree in physiotherapy.
It came as a massive shock when the announcement was made and its clearly a massive blow for the Robins, however the second-half of the season hasn’t entirely been down to Oswell – its about how the team have performed week in, week out since the turn of the year and Newtown’s latest victory over Aberystwyth Town – a 6-1 thrashing was without the impetus of Oswell, who was introduced late on, when the Robins were already cruising to victory with the score standing at 5-0.
With Oswell on the bench, Chris Hughes opted to go with 25 year-old Nick Rushton up front, and didn’t it work a treat – he ended up scoring a hat-trick, and he does have an eye for goal – eight in 11 appearances so far this season to be precise.
The play-off against Bangor is a fantastic opportunity for the Welshman to step up to the plate, and if he can replicate some of the form in which he has shown when he’s played this season, there is no reason why he can’t cause problems for the Bangor City backline.
Oswell is fantastic asset to Newtown, there’s no doubt about that and without him they might not have even made the Welsh Premier League play-offs, but this is a perfect time for Chris Hughes’ men to show how good they’re without the prolific striker, and that they do have the firepower up front to get past Bangor without the Welsh Premier League’s top scorer.