Cwmbran Celtic won’t approach glamour cup tie against New Saints any differently
Cwmbran Celtic manager Lee Challenger says the approach won’t change when they entertain Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints this Saturday.
The Division One side welcome the reigning Welsh Premier League champions to Celtic Park this Saturday in Round Three of the JD Welsh Cup.
Scott Ruscoe’s side have played in both the Champions League and Europa League qualifiers this season, showing their pedigree. Whilst Cwmbran Celtic have remained competitive in the second tier of Welsh football. Cwmbran Celtic played Welsh Cup winners and title hopefuls Connah’s Quay Nomads last season.
“We approach this game as we do any other. Nothing changes in that respect” affirmed Challenger.
“We know that they are going to be a top outfit, we know they are going to be well drilled and very professional, but for me, that’s the beauty of this competition, you want the opportunity to test yourselves against the top sides.
“I’d like the players to just go out and play their normal game with no fear, that is what we did the year we got to the quarterfinals.
“I think that no fear approach has become part of our DNA and also when we have played some of our best football so it’s important not to go away from that approach, especially when the chips are down.”
“They don’t come any bigger than those two in my opinion. It’s great for the club.”
The New Saints have had a strong foothold on Welsh football for more than half a decade. Winning the Welsh Premier League for the last six years, as well as winning the Nathaniel MG Cup in the last four years.
In the last few seasons, The New Saints haven’t been as dominant as expected, with Bala Town and Connah’s Quay Nomads winning the competition.
They also trail league leaders Connah’s Quay by three points, with half of the season gone.
Despite The New Saints current plight, it’s still a game that the former Cwmbran Town man is looking forward to.
“It’s a big game for all involved. it definitely gets the juices flowing because of the stature of TNS and what they have achieved in Welsh football.
We are no strangers to big games here, we enjoy them and hope that these types of games become the norm as we progress not only on the field but off it too.”
Cwmbran Celtic have yet to play Cambrian & Clydach Vale in the League this season, but their fellow Division One side knocked out The New Saints in the Nathaniel MG Cup.
With just two league wins in five, where they have lost to promoted side Caernarfon Town at home, some sides have less to fear against this New Saints side.
But Cwmbran Celtic boss Lee Challenger doesn’t see a weakened New Saints side than previous years.
“I wouldn’t say we are playing them at a good time. If they had lost 10 on the bounce or won 10 on the bounce it wouldn’t have any bearing on what will happen in this game, it’s a cup game and it’s on the day.
“Obviously in any round of the cup you want to be drawn at home.
“They will adapt their game I’m sure of that. It’s part of the game now where a lot of sides play on artificial surfaces and may have to adapt their game to wherever they are playing away from home.
“It’s not alien to those sides, it’s just part of the game at this level now and everyone is used to it and accepts it.
In the 2015/2016 season, Cwmbran Celtic then in the third tier of Welsh football, reached the Quarter-Finals of the JD Welsh Cup.
They were knocked out by the Welsh Premier League side Port Talbot Town, in a narrow 2-1 defeat to the Steelmen.
The Cwmbran Celtic boss in fact played in the game.
“The quarterfinal run was superb for everyone involved, we should have won that game too! No doubt about that.
“It still gets talked about now so it was obviously a big achievement and one that the club is proud of.”
Cwmbran Celtic welcome The New Saints in an earlier scheduled kick off of 13:30 at Celtic Park in Round Three of the JD Welsh Cup.
(Featured Image: Steve Roberts)