While The New Saints will be busy representing Wales in the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup, there will be five matches going ahead in the Welsh Premier League this weekend.
Cefn Druids v Newtown | Friday – 19:45
The only Friday night fixture will take place at the Rock between two sides who have had a great start to the second phase in the Bottom Six.
Cefn Druids and Newtown have both won their two league fixtures since the split and neither side have lost in the WPL in 2017.
Only two points separate the four clubs in the close race for 7th spot, and three points for either one of these clubs would see them climb up into 7th over night.
Adam Hesp was the hero for the Druids when the clubs last met as he scored a last minute winner for Huw Griffiths’ side.
Aberystwyth v Llandudno | Saturday – 14:00
It hasn’t been the best of starts to the second phase for these two sides in their attempts to finish 7th.
Llandudno are without a win since beating Bangor City on New Year’s Day (1-0) and scoring remains to be the big issue for Alan Morgan’s men who played out another goalless draw against Airbus last weekend (Llandudno’s sixth 0-0 this season).
Llandudno have the worst attacking record in the WPL and have failed to score in half their league games this season (12/24).
Aber have also struggled to score lately, netting only twice in four league games in 2017.
Bangor City v Cardiff Met | Saturday – 14:30
As gap Connah’s Quay (3rd) have a free weekend due to their fixture with TNS being postponed, Bangor now have the chance to close the gap on the Nomads to only one point if they beat Cardiff Met on Saturday.
Bangor City have won nine out of 12 league matches at home this season (lost 3) and the Citizens have been impressive since bolstering their squad during the transfer window.
Cardiff Met completed a remarkable feat by securing a Top Six spot in their first season in the top flight, but they haven’t had a great start to the second phase losing both matches so far.
With 12 points separating Met and the 3rd position, an automatic European spot might be out of their reach, but they will need to start building confidence and momentum if they’re to make a real challenge in the play-offs.
The students gave Bangor a 4-0 battering in their last meeting in what was Andy Legg’s final game in charge of the Citizens.
Carmarthen v Bala Town | Saturday – 14:30
This promises to be quite a battle between two in-form teams in the Top Six.
Carmarthen caused the biggest shock of the season when they beat TNS (1-0) last weekend to bring their 31 game unbeaten run to and end.
The Old Gold have also beaten the Nomads since the split and after being written off for an automatic Europa spot, they are now only nine points behind 3rd placed Connah’s Quay.
Bala have climbed up into 2nd spot after wins against Bangor City and Cardiff Met in the second phase and another win this weekend could put them six points clear of Connah’s Quay.
The Lakesiders have only lost once in their last 14 league games (2-0 away at Rhyl).
There’s over three years since Carmarthen beat Bala in the WPL back in November 2013 when Christian Doidge and Cortez Belle scored in a 2-0 victory at Richmond Park.
Airbus UK v Rhyl | Saturday – 14:30
This is a massive game for the two teams in the relegation zone and possibly a must win for Airbus if they are to avoid the drop.
With eight games remaining the Wingmakers are nine points from safety and in real danger of facing relegation to the Huws Gray Alliance after 12 seasons in the top flight.
Things aren’t looking great for Rhyl either who are four points behind the safety of the 10th position following their 3-2 defeat at Newtown last Saturday.
Rhyl managed to avoid relegation last season despite finishing in the bottom two as 10th placed Port Talbot failed to secure the domestic license and were relegated instead, but Niall McGuinness will hope to survive on merit this time around.
The Lilywhites completed the double over Airbus in the first phase, but both camps have seen a lot of comings and goings since then and it should be a closely fought battle this weekend between two sides who are fighting to survive in the WPL.
Highlights of all WPL matches will be on Sgorio every Monday at 6:30 on S4C.