Two Welsh Premier League clubs will take part in the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup second round this weekend as Connah’s Quay travel to Dumbarton on Saturday, before The New Saints welcome Livingston to Park Hall on Sunday in front of the live Sgorio cameras with coverage starting at 14:35.
Last year saw two clubs each from the Welsh and Northern Irish leagues participate in the Scottish Irn-Bru Challenge Cup for the first time, and this season two teams from the League of Ireland will also join the competition.
Dundee Utd are the cup holders after beating St Mirren (2-1) yn in the 2016/17 final..
The New Saints managed to reach the semi final in their first year competing in the Irn-Bru Cup as they knocked out both Forfar Athletic and Livingston before eventually losing out to St Mirren.
Bala Town lost against Alloa Athletic in what was their only appearance in the competition.
The New Saints and Connah’s Quay will represent Wales in the competition this year after finishing in the top two places in the 2016/17 Welsh Premier League season.
The Welsh clubs joined the competition in the fourth round last season, but they face a tougher challenge this year as they are introduced into the cup at the second round stage.
Dumbarton v Connah’s Quay | Saturday – 14:30
This will be Connah’s Quay’s first appearance in the Irn-Bru Cup after the Nomads finished last season in the top two of the Welsh Premier League.
Dumbarton lost their only game in the competition last season, a 1-0 defeat at Stranraer in the third round.
But ‘The Sons’ have already won once in the cup this year, beating Rangers’ under 20’s side 2-1.
Despite the win, it hasn’t been the greatest of starts to the season for Dumbarton in the Scottish Championship (2nd tier) as they are without a win after four games (drawn 2, lost 2) having only scored once.
Connah’s Quay are one of five WPL clubs who are equal on six points after winning two and losing once in the league this season.
The Nomads’ 100% record came to an end at Llandudno on Saturday as they lost 1-0 following Mike Pearson’s red card in the first half.
The New Saints v Livingston | Sunday – 14:45 (LIVE on S4C)
There’s less than 10 months since these two last met in the Irn-Bru Cup when The New Saints enjoyed a 0-3 away win at the Tony Macaroni Stadium to book a place in the semi final.
The New Saints beat Forfar Athletic and Livingston on their way to last season’s semi final before losing 4-1 to St. Mirren (it was 1-1 when Steve Saunders saw red for TNS for a reckless challenge).
TNS were on the wrong end of an opening weekend shock result this season as they fell to a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Kevin Nicholson’s Bangor City.
It was the first time TNS had conceded five goals in the WPL in 10 years, since a Jamie Reed hat-trick inspired Aberystwyth to a 5-1 win back in August 2007.
But Scott Ruscoe has managed to steady the Saints’ ship since the defeat, and it’s been business as usual for the champions since then, winning both of their games without conceding once (TNS 3-0 Bala, Barry 0-1 TNS).
Livingston have had a decent start to life in the Scottish Championship following their promotion from League One.
The West Lothian outift have already played 10 competitive matches this season (4 league, 5 Betfred Cup, 1 IrnBru Cup) and have only lost once (vs St Mirren – the club that beat TNS last saeason).
Livi beat Morton 0-2 in the first round to progress into the second round of the Irn Bru Cup.
Ex-Wales and Celtic striker, John Hartson was appointed as part of the Livingston coaching staff last week.
The match will be live on S4C this Sunday with coverage starting at 14:35.
Livingston 0-3 The New Saints (13/11/16)
On this day in 1961 one of the legends of Welsh football - Ian Rush - was born.