Rhys Griffiths returns to Latham Park aiming for MG Cup scalp
Penybont manager Rhys Griffiths will return to a ground where he has had a number of good memories over the years.
Griffiths, who is in charge of the Division One side, will return to the Welsh Premier League ground when they play in Round Two of the Nathaniel MG Cup.
The prolific forward once scored a hat-trick there in a 6-2 rout. He finished that season with 31 goals. That year Llanelli qualified for the Europa League, missing out on the Welsh Premier League title by seven points to Rhyl.
“I’ve scored quite a few there over the years but rarely had easy games.
The people at Newtown have always been very friendly and welcoming. A good club.”
With such a vast experience in the Welsh Premier League, turning out for clubs like Cwmbran Town, Haverfordwest County, Carmarthen Town and Port Talbot, the 38-year-old has played a number of times at Latham Park.
But a memory that stands out for him, is when he was in his early days with Llanelli, where he spent his best years.
As the Reds led one-nil, Griffiths doubled their lead on the 22nd September to give them the points. That goal was one of 39 that he had scored, as Llanelli finished third.
Griffiths said: “I was talking at Gary Lloyd’s testimonial about a 0-2 victory there when I’d just started at Llanelli,
I scored a decent second for us and that was the moment I truly settled at the club.”
The Robins look set to ring the changes as they deal with three games in six days, with Llanelli on the horizon on Friday evening.
Chris Hughes says his side will have to be rotated, with focus on the league.
But the Bridgend club will also be ringing the changes as they make the longest away trip of the round.
Penybont are also in league action on Friday when they host promotion hopefuls Cambrian & Clydach Vale on Friday, with the focus on the league.
“I’m sure the players Chris brings in will be of a high standard and still keep them very strong.
The league is more important to us too, so certain players will be rested to give opportunities to others.
Unfortunately, we don’t go at full strength due to injuries and work commitments, but we will still go there full of confidence and with little to lose.
I expect those coming in to stake a claim for a shirt Friday night.”
In the 2016/2017 season, Penybont claimed an upset as they beat then Welsh Premier League side Airbus UK Broughton 4-1, before bowing out to eventual Cup winners Bala Town, after taking them to extra time.
But should Penybont record a win over the Robins tomorrow, Griffiths wouldn’t see it too much as an upset, despite the difference in leagues.
The Penybont manager said: “Newtown are a strong well established WPL side and we aspire to be where they are, but I don’t think it would be a huge upset if a top WL1 side beat a WPL team.”
Both Griffiths and Chris Hughes have worked closely with the Football Association of Wales in terms of their coaching education, as both obtain the UEFA Pro Licence.
They have also spent a number of years in the Welsh pyramid system with various clubs, crossing paths a number of times.
And tomorrow, it’ll be a reunion of two managerial friends in the dugout.
“He’s someone I speak to fairly regularly, and consider a mate in the management world.
I certainly can’t see us arguing on the touchline tomorrow.”
Newtown plays Penybont at Latham Park tomorrow evening with a 19:45 kick-off, in Round Two of the Nathaniel MG Cup.
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)