Why Bala Town are in a good position to challenge The New Saints for title in upcoming JD Welsh Premier League season?
Bala Town have strengthened wisely over the summer and are in good stead ahead of the new JD Welsh Premier League season, and they’re in a perfect position to now challenge the Dominant New Saints for the title this season.
Colin Caton has made great strides in the summer to get his squad in the best possible shape ahead of the start of their Welsh Premier League campaign, which will start against Carmarthen Town on Friday the 10th of August.
They have strengthened their side smartly, with players who could make a huge difference to Caton’s squad. Perhaps the player who will be most key for Bala Town this season is former Bangor City starlet, Henry Jones.
The 24-year-old, former young Welsh Premier League player of the year was signed by the Lakesiders just last week after turning down a new contract at National League outfit, AFC Flyde.
He is no doubt an exhilarating talent and if he hits the type of form which saw him become such a massive success at the Citizens, where he scored 14 times and provided 10 assists in Nantporth during the 2016/2017 season, then he has the potential to sparkle.
He is a match-winner and if Bala can build a team around the talented former Wales under-21 international, there is no reason why they can’t go toe-to-toe with current Champions The New Saints for the JD Welsh Premier League title.
The Lakesiders finished a whopping 25 points behind Scott Ruscoe’s side during the 2017/2018 season, but they have shown real ambition over the summer, which has also included the signing of former Football League player Andy Mangan, with the 31-year-old boasting a fine goal-scoring record over the course of his career so far.
The experienced striker could be integral to Caton’s side this season and if he can rediscover his form from a couple of years ago, the Lakesiders could have some player on their hands.
Mangan’s best goal-scoring season came at Forest Green, where he smashed home a total of 26 goals in 46 games during the 2008/2009 season, before making the switch to Wrexham, where he scored 22 goals over the course of the two seasons he spent at the Dragons.
Speaking to Bala Town’s official website earlier on in the transfer window, Caton described his delight of attracting a player of Mangan’s calibre to the club.
He said: “Andy is a massive signing for us at Bala Town. To attract such a talented player at this stage of his career is fantastic.
Andy is looking to get into the coaching side of the game and is currently on the UEFA A Licence at the Welsh Football Trust with Ste Fisher and that’s where the ball started rolling to come and join us.
He will be studying and coaching in the daytime and this enables Andy to play part-time and I’m happy to have Andy on board with us for the coming season.
Mangan will bring so much to the team and the dressing room which is so important to us at Bala with the right blend of person we look for. Andy will fit in well with the group like the other new signings of Steven Tames, Sean Smith, Anthony Miley and Andrew Burns.”
Bala no doubt have quality all over the pitch, with the industrial-like Chris Venables in midfield to partner the creative zest of Jones.
Their recruitment has been nothing short of excellent this summer, but they must now show they mean business on the pitch, starting with that game against Carmarthen on the opening day of the season.
If they start the season well, the fans may then start to get excited. But they can’t get complacent, because everyone knows the quality that the New Saints have at their disposal, but with players like Venables, Jones, and Mangan, they may not have a better chance of tasting Welsh Premier League gold. It is now the Lakesiders time to make it count.
(Featured Image: Naomi Jones of Bala Town)