Penybont Rhys Griffiths
Penybont manager Rhys Griffiths has said that his team is capable of pulling off an upset against Cardiff Metropolitan University this afternoon.
The former Llanelli Town striker who has won the competition as a player will be in the role of player-manager when high-flying Cardiff Metropolitan University arrives at the KYMCO Stadium this Saturday.
And with the league form of the Archers, Penybont wouldn’t complain about being placed as the underdogs in this situation. But Griffiths says that isn’t an excuse to accept a defeat.
“The underdog tag is great as long as it doesn’t mean that when you’re under pressure you don’t accept that it’s ok to lose. It is not ‘ok’, and if we give 100% and play as a team we have the potential to cause the upset.
“It will be a yardstick on progress, although not completely defining where we are, but also an unwelcome break from the league season.
After Cardiff Metropolitan University won promotion to the Welsh Premier League, Griffiths hasn’t had the opportunity to manage against the Archers.
The Welsh Cup draw has provided that opportunity though and the prolific front-man is looking forward to playing forward to playing higher league opposition.
“Being that we are up against a team from a higher division we get the chance to delve into tactics and roles more than we normally would base on the amount of footage available to them. As a player, it was just another game.”
With such a long outstanding contribution to the Welsh game, there’s a different approach as a player, compared to going into the competition as a manager.
“As a player, I wanted to win it every season, so every tie was the next step towards winning it. Obviously the longer I went without winning it the greater the desire became. As a manager, I’m thinking about the season as a whole and what this game can do for our season.”
Although not available tomorrow due to playing for Pontypridd Town in the previous rounds, Penybont made a statement in recruiting experienced defender David Allen.
After being an admirer of his performances in the white and black of Ponty last season, Griffiths identified the defender to help lead his side forward.
“David was someone we were impressed with when we watched last season. We felt we needed another CB of this type and so we brought him in.
He’s been excellent and adds ingredients that we’ve been lacking. I think he’s enjoying the environment too. It’s a shame he’s cup-tied.”
As well as looking for experience, the Bridgend side also made the signing of former Cardiff City winger Tyler Roache, adding that blend of experience and youth.
The wide-man was another signing that was identified as a long-term target and after a spell away in England, Roache has returned to South Wales.
Tyler is someone I spoke to when I first became manager at Penybont but unfortunately, he moved to England. Since he signed we’ve been waiting for international clearance, he’s not played yet.
The way we play, he should fit in very well. He’s also a local boy which is important. I’m excited to get him on the grass.”
As a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University in their former guise of UWIC, the 37-year-old knows how the setup works under Dr Christian Edwards and the Archers, assessing how the club is run, compared to the side he manages.
“From the outside, it seems to have pros and cons. Essentially they are full time and so have the ability to work on anything and everything they like.
On the downside, we see a player we like (such as David Allen) we go and get them provided they are interested. Met need players to be students which makes it tougher. I’m an ex-student at what was then UWIC, so I wish them well after Saturday.”
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)