Who are the Connah’s Quay Nomads semi-final opponents Edinburgh City?
On Saturday evening, fourth tier Edinburgh City will make the long trip to Deeside to face the Nomads in the semi-final of the Irn-Bru Cup but who are they?
Andy Morrison has already done a dossier on their semi-final opponents, having previously watched their games, but there’s plenty to be intrigued about from the Welsh public ahead of the semi-final clash at Deeside Stadium this Saturday.
A brief introduction
Edinburgh are based at the Ainslie Park Stadium, which can house a total of 3000 spectators as work is continued on their traditional Meadowbank Stadium.
Formerly known as Postal United, in 1986 the club rebranded to Edinburgh City, going from all-red to a white and black kit.
The club have been in existence for 91 years.
They’ve had a number of Cup shocks, having beaten Hibernian at Easter Road in 1937. More recently, they beat Montrose in 2012.
Their highest honours include winning the SPFL League Two Play_offs and reaching the third round of the Scottish Cup.
How they’ve performed this season
A club who has played most of their football in the Scottish non-league scene, Edinburgh City are a club who are on the up.
Achieving promotion to the Football League in 2016, James McDonaugh has picked up from former boss Gary Jardine and turned his side from relegation candidates last year after their 9th place last season, to promotion candidates in a matter of months.
The Citizens have been in form this season. They currently lead the Scottish Football League Two having won 16 of their 24 fixtures this season. They’re competing with Peterhead for the title, holding a four-point gap over second place.
The Cup Run
It began in August for Edinburgh, when they beat Albion Rovers at their Meadowbank Sports Centre home. They beat their league rivals 3-1, with Blair Henderson scoring twice.
In the next round, they travelled to Lowland Football League side East Kilbride, escaping a cup shock at the K-Park Training Academy as Henderson continued to score, whilst substitute Allan Smith scored a brace.
Henderson continued his scoring run with a brace and an assist, whilst his namesake Liam also scored, as well as frontman Scott Shepherd also getting in on the action away at Arbroath.
And to reach the semi-final stage of the competition, a penalty shootout victory over Scottish Championship side Alloa Athletic secured a famous win for the Citizens. Henderson and Shepherd were on the scoresheet, to set up this interesting clash with the Nomads.
The ones to watch…
Leading the goals for the Scots this Saturday will be 24-year-old forward Blair Henderson. Henderson averages almost a goal a game, having scored 31 goals in 32 appearances.
Henderson has hit the ground running for Edinburgh, having signed from League Two rivals Annan Athletic, already beating his record of 16 goals last season.
In the Irn-Bru Cup, he has scored in each round for the Nomads’ opponents.
There’s also a Welsh connection in goalkeeper Calum Antel, who returns to Wales this weekend. Antell was born in Abergavenny but has forged a career in football in Scotland.
Antell joined Hibernian as a youngster, before having loan spells with East Stirlingshire and East Fife, before moving to the Queen of the South. It was in 2016 that the 6 ft 2 in goalkeeper found regular football with the Scottish capital side.
Speaking to EdinburughLive, Antell said: “My family is from South Wales so it’s still about two hours away. It’s not too local, but it’s not too far either, to be honest.
“I’ve only played for a team called Caernarfon Town and that was a while ago, so I’m not really too sure what the standard is like in Welsh league now.
“I’ve spoken to a few boys who have played there before and they say it’s a good standard so it should be a really good game.”
Edinburgh can also call upon the experience of midfielder Craig Thomson, who has previously played in the Scottish Premiership.
The 27-year-old has 10 assists in all competitions this season, including one in the League Cup. The full-back has been converted into a midfielder.
Thomson formerly played for Heart of Midlothian, experiencing loan spells with FBK Kanuas and FK Suduva.
Who’s the gaffer?
James McDonaugh is the manager of Edinburgh City, having taken over them in October 2017.
That was his first senior management role, having had a coaching career where he has worked either as an assistant manager or a prominent role in an Academy set up.
McDonaugh holds the much needed UEFA Pro Licence, which entitles him to manage a professional club.
He was assistant manager to Peter Houston at Falkirk where they reached a Scottish Cup, as well as securing second place finishes in the Scottish Championship.