Who will claim the JD Welsh Premier Golden Boot this season?
The JD Welsh Premier has started to rapid pace, with 21 goals scored across the six opening games last week, including a 5-1 win for TNS over Barry and a 7-0 thumping for Llanelli by Connah’s Quay Nomads.
The new season means new targets, and for a select group of players, it means a fresh opportunity to rack up as many goals as possible – so who is in the running to hit the target the most this season?
Greg Draper (The New Saints FC)
Greg Draper of TNS is the hot favourite for the golden boot in the 18/19 season. The seven-time league champion netted 22 times this season and reached a century of goals for his club.
The New Zealand international has been a regular goal scorer for TNS since his arrival in 2011, and is admired almost universally by opposition managers for his clinical finishing and awareness.
If manager Scott Ruscoe continues to play Draper as his main striker this season, opposition strikers will do well to match his goalscoring prowess.
However, he will also face challenges from his peers such as Jamie Mullan and Dean Ebbe.
Michael Bakare (Connah’s Quay Nomads FC)
Connah’s Quay Nomads are known for the strength of their defence, which has conceded the least in the league for the past two seasons – but if they are to challenge TNS for the title this year it will surely mean more goals, and more chances for exciting winger Michael Bakare.
The ex-Wrexham man scored eight league goals and a further eight in cup competitions, outfoxing rival defences with his pace, skill and free kicks.
As a full time professional with the Nomads, Andy Morrison will be counting on Bakare to better his tally this season as the club looks to close the gap at the top.
Henry Jones (Bala Town)
Henry Jones is perhaps the league’s biggest signing of the season, and a huge coup for his new club Bala Town.
Jones, who was named Young Player of the Season for the 16/17 Welsh Premier League season, earned a move to the National League with AFC Fylde after an impressive season with Bangor City.
The midfielder scored 10 goals and made 10 assists for the Citizens during his time at Nantporth, and the now-Lakesider is tipped to be a key player for Bala this season.
It’s been a busy transfer window for Bala, meaning Jones has competition for the top-goalscoring spot from the likes of experienced former football league striker Andy Mangam.
Kayne McLaggon (Barry Town)
Barry Town fan favourite Kayne McLaggon netted 12 times for Barry as they enjoyed a fantastic return to the top flight, going unbeaten in phase two to reach the European play offs.
And McLaggon was key to his side’s success, with his athleticism and finishing complimenting the quick passing game of the South Wales side.
Barry will be eyeing a top six finish this season, which will mean going up against notorious defensive lines such as Connah’s Quay and Cefn Druids.
If McLaggon can continue last season’s form against the league’s top sides, he could be a golden boot contender.
Declan Walker (Aberystwyth Town)
He may be a right back, but Declan Walker was prolific for the Seasiders last season with 14 goals for the club.
Those goals came in vital circumstances as Aberystwyth survived a relegation dog fight and the JD Welsh Cup, as he secured a brace against Newtown to send his side into the 2017/18 final.
He is arguably Aberystwyth’s most important signing after agreeing a contract extension for the forthcoming season, and will be a centre point of Neville Powell’s plans this season as the Black and Greens look to challenge for the top six.
As revered character at Park Avenue he will have lots of support to score as many goals as possible in what is set to be another thrilling season of domestic football.
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