Who will win the Division titles in the Welsh Football League?
With just under a month to go until the Welsh Football League kicks-off again, pre-season predictions are always a yard stick for clubs to follow, to use as motivation to prove those wrong.
To give an insight in to how the season will pan out before the season has begun is always a hard task as there are many factors that come in to play over the course of the season.
But predictions have to come in some form and this is how the Welsh Football League divisions will look like at the end of the season.
Welsh Football League – Division One
CHAMPIONS: Llanelli Town AFC
Llanelli Town and Andy Hill won the League and Cup double last season and went unbeaten throughout, with their only competitive loss being in the JD Welsh Cup to Welsh Premier League side The New Saints.
The squad has plenty of experience that has played in the top flight of Welsh football with names like Lee Trundle, Jordan Follows, Kurtis March, Joe Clarke and Craig Morris.
The team weren’t short of goals last season as they scored an incredible 108 league goals and if the club can retain those key individuals there is no reason why they can’t be up there again, the facilities in place at the club could provide a welcome return to the Premier League.
Who can challenge Llanelli Town for the Division One title?
Penybont are a side that finished the season on a high as they went on a goal-scoring spree with pride to play for. Rhys Griffiths has recruited well in bringing Gethin Jones, Bradley Flay and and Liam Walsh. In his first job in management, Griff led Bont to a 2nd placed finish, not that far behind Barry Town United and with his experience, I can see a close race for the title with the Reds.
Former Premier League side Haverfordwest County could have something to say about both sides though as they have added Premier League experience in Declan Carroll and Sam Rodon.
One team to look out for:
Briton Ferry Llanasawel impressed last season after being relegated from Division One and with the club being able to boast an impressive 400 seats, the Reds have all the ingredients for a return to the Premier League, they may not win the title but don’t be surprised to see them finish in the top five.
Welsh Football League – Division Two
CHAMPIONS: Pontypridd Town AFC
After narrowly missing out on promotion last season as Cwmamman United pipped them to the second tier of Welsh football, the Dragons will look to continue their rise in Welsh football and can use last season’s narrow miss as a platform to achieve promotion this time round.
The move to the USW Sports Park may help the club over the course of the season as they adapt to a new home but it is important that they hit the ground running once the season begins.
The Broad brothers have definitely increased the stature of the club and with the Dragons recruiting players from their local rivals AFC Porth in David Burnett and Nyran Bird it shows that the club want to ensure promotion for next season.
Who can challenge Pontypridd Town for the Division Two title?
In what was only one season in Division One, Caldicot Town were relegated last season but under new management the club will be looking to repeat their incredible Division Two title win of the 2015/2016 season, where they lost only five games in the season.
A team to look out for: STM Sports
STM Sports are under a new manager in former Porth boss Gareth Morgan and the local lad will want to go one further having been close to promotion with the Black Dragons last year. The club are known for playing a good style of football on their 3G pitch, if promotion is three spots this season then the Llanrumney club could claim the last spot.
Welsh Football League – Division Three
CHAMPIONS: Bridgend Street
The Street have gone close in recent years in promotion to Division Two and in the 2015/2016 season the club thought they had done enough to gain promotion but unfortunately for them, only two sides would go up to the third tier.
But after making their way to the Welsh Football League Cup final, overcoming Division One clubs like cup holders Taffs Well and Haverfordwest County, this could be used as motivation for the club to put the emphasis on the league this season.
A respectable result against a free-scoring Llanelli side where they matched them for a duration of the game shows that Bridgend Street have a strong defence and are capable of scoring against higher opposition.
Going into this season, the club have experienced heads Paul Fowler and Jeff White to call upon and this may jut be the season that Bridgend Street gain promotion.
Who can challenge Bridgend Street?
Newport City didn’t have the best of seasons last year as they suffered relegation from Division Two having been near the drop-zone the previous yea but towards the end of last season the club showed that they were still fighting and with that fight and will to survive, they can transfer that into a winning mentality in a lower division.
Sam Houldsworth has revitalised the club and now the Port are looking to bounce-back from the relegation at the first attempt.
A team to look out for: Swansea University
The newest team on the block, Swansea University have said they are looking to emulate what Cardiff Metropolitan University are doing and it could just be the case. The club have signed former Port Talbot forward Marley Bishop-Wisdom, as well as other impressive signings and they will want to continue the good work of last season, where they claimed a number of trophies.
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)