Which JD Welsh Premier League club will go furthest in Europe this season?
With European competition closing in on us, we take a look at which JD Welsh Premier League club could advance the furthest in Europe this season.
The New Saints found out who they would be playing in their UEFA Champions League Preliminary round – and they will face a tough test against Macedonian oufit, KF Shkendija.
They won the Macedonia league during the 2017/2018 season and Scott Ruscoe’s side have a challenge on their hands if they want to advance to stage two of the Preliminary UEFA Champions League round.
Shkendija had a brilliant run last season, which included knocking out the likes of HJK, as well as FK Trakai as they earned a spot in the play-off round, before being hammered 7-0 on aggregate to Serie A outfit, AC Milan.
They also made it into the playoffs in the previous season as well and The New Saints will need to be on top of their game if they want to cause an upset against the Macedonians.
Moving onto Cefn Druids then, the team who will face Trakai. They will not face an easy task, either and they can expect a physical challenge against the Lithuanian side, who finished third overall in their league last season.
Huw Griffiths’ side are more than capable of pulling off a shock, but it won’t be easy by any means against Trakai. They need to make sure they’re well disciplined throughout and they use their experience to overturn the Lithuanians.
The Druids showed why they deserved a place in the UEFA Europa League Preliminary round following their impressive second-half of the campaign in Phase Two of the JD Welsh Premier League. Now they need to show why they mean business in only their second appearance in Europe.
They were battered and bruised in their first ever game in Europe during the 2012/2013 season, losing 5-0 to Finnish outfit MYPA.
But they need to learn from that experience and forget about that result because they proved throughout their 2017/2018 JD Welsh Premier League campaign that they can compete with the very best in Wales.
The Nomads will fancy their chances when they face-off against Belarusian outfit FC Shakhtyor in their UEFA Europa League first qualifying round. They finished third in the Belarusian Premier League last season, but if the Nomads are on-song, they’re more than capable of advancing to the next round of the competition.
They showed against HJK Helsinki in the first leg last season that they’re capable of causing an upset, but you feel that they may well run out of steam like they did in their game in Europe last season, but that goes for all of the JD Welsh Premier League sides competing in Europe this season.
Moving onto the final team who will be competing in Europe this season and they come in the form of Bala Town, who arguably have the easiest tie out of the four teams.
Colin Caton’s side will face-off against San Marino outfit Tre Fiori, who are a semi-professional club. They have lost all three of their UEFA Champions League preliminary games, but it is important that Bala don’t underestimate them because they have qualified for a reason.
If they put in a professional performance and show what they did for large parts of last season, they definitely stand a chance of advancing to the next stage of the UEFA Europa League qualification system because they’re an attractive side under Caton and very much like the Druids, they’re capable of beating anyone on their day and that will most certainly put them in good stead heading into this match-up against Tre Fiori.
(Featured Image: Naomi Jones of Bala Town FC)