A look at key players from each club that could shine in the JD Cymru Premier this season.
Aberystwyth – Marc Williams
The Black & Greens have named creative attacker Marc Williams as their captain for the new season.
Now in his 30’s, the ex-Wrexham and Wales u21 man has proved his talent in the Cymru Premier as he was named ‘Player of the Season’ back in 2015/16 after scoring 16 goals which helped Llandudno on their way to European qualification.
After a couple of quieter seasons with Llandudno and Bangor, the responsibility of wearing the captain’s armband at Aberystwyth might be what Williams needs to find the form that saw him stand out and play with such hunger and desire in previous years.
Airbus UK – Curtis Strong
Curtis Strong could surprise a few people after a tremendous season playing with Airbus in the Cymru North.
The rapid left-back caused havoc in the lower league as he continuously tore defenders apart down the flank, creating numerous goals for his team-mates.
It’s fair to say that the Stoke academy graduate should be playing at a higher level than the Cymru North, and possibly higher than the Cymru Premier.
Carmarthen – Chris Jones
Following Llanelli’s relegation last season, winger Chris Jones has now signed for the Old Gold – his sixth club in the Cymru Premier.
He started his career with Swansea before winning two Cymru Premier championships with The New Saints as well as being named Young Player of the Year back in 2010/11.
Full of skills and trickery, Jones is still in his 20’s, and could prove to be an asset for Neil Smothers’ side if he can provide good service to Luke Bowen and Liam Thomas at Richmond Park.
Caernarfon – Leo Smith
After his release from Wrexham over the summer, Leo Smith will be determined to leave his mark on the Cymru Premier.
Smith spent time on loan with the Cofis at the end of last season, and despite being only 21 years old, the midfielder has shown great maturity – clever in his attacking play and definitely does not shy away from a crunching challenge.
The Porthmadog lad was rightly disappointed not to be given more of a chance at the Racecourse, but his ability will certainly be appreciated at the Oval.
Connah’s Quay – Jamie Insall
We saw glimpses of what to expect from Jamie Insall at the end of last season, and the fiery striker is keen to bring more glory to Deeside this season.
The ex-Hibernian forward was banned from football in 2017 for failing a drugs test, but is now eager to make right for his mistake and show his talents on the pitch.
After an European campaign to remember, Insall will be looking to impress manager Andy Morrison in the Cymru Premier, and as Michael Wilde closes in on his 36th birthday, and with Andy Owens gone to Airbus, Insall might be just the man to bag the goals for the Nomads this term.
Cefn Druids – Dean Rittenberg
It was a fairly flat season for Cefn Druids in 2018/19 as the Ancients finished one place above the drop zone after scoring an average of 1.3 goals per game.
Druids striker Dean Rittenberg came through the Blackburn academy and represented England u18’s before being snapped up by Bangor City where he scored some wonderful strikes.
But since arriving at The Rock, the 23 year old has not quite hit the same form, but if he is provided with quality service from his team-mates this season then there is no doubt that he could be one of the top goal-getters in the league.
Cardiff Met – Will Fuller
Cardiff Met enjoyed a memorable season, lifting the League Cup and securing European qualification for the first time in their history.
On the other hand, Christian Edwards might feel that his squad should have finished higher than 7th place, and maybe if influential keeper Will Fuller would have been fully fit, then that might have been the case.
After coming through the youth ranks at Ipswich, Fuller has spent the last eight years with Cardiff Met where he’s developed a great understanding with centre-halves Bradley Woolridge and Emlyn Lewis, and that solid platform could be what guides the Archers back into the Top Six.
Pen-y-bont – Kane Owen
The Pen-y-bont left-back has previous experience of playing in the Cymru Premier with Aberystwyth and Afan Lido but has blossomed into a strong and dependable player since arriving at the KYMCO Stadium.
With a fierce left peg, Owen is dangerous from set-pieces and managed nine goals in the Cymru South last season where he was named Pen-y-bont’s ‘Player of the Year’.
The Bont went unbeaten in the league, and Owen also represented the University of South Wales where he won the league and cup double – he’s now looking forward to the challenge that awaits in the Cymru Premier.
Bala Town – Louis Robles
Louis Robles has big shoes to fill after the departure of Steven Tames, but after bagging a hat-trick against Gresford on his debut, things are looking promising for the new Lakesider.
The 22 year old joined Bangor back in January 2017, but left after only one game where he scored twice in a 4-0 Welsh Cup win over Llandudno.
He played in the Spanish third tier and enjoyed a spell at Grimsby Town before arriving at Bala Town this summer, and he could provide the goals that lead Colin Caton’s men back to Europe.
Barry Town – Clayton Green
A top three finish and a return to Europe was more than the Barry Town faithful expected at the start of last season, and a lot of praise has been given to attackers Momodou Touray, Kayne McLaggon and Jonathan Hood for their performances along the way.
But behind the glorious goals and silky skills was a ferocious midfielder doing the dirty work in midfield and breaking up play for the opposition.
Maybe Clayton Green’s contribution doesn’t get as much praise as others, but his gritty displays have been vital to the success of Gavin Chesterfield’s team, and young midfielder Robbie Patten has been able to flourish by playing alongside such an aggressive player in the middle of the park.
Newtown – Lifumpa Mwandwe
The young forward has arrived on loan from Shrewsbury and has already made an impact by scoring on his debut in the Nathaniel MG Cup.
Several young professional players have benefited from spending loan spells in the Cymru Premier over recent years, and Mwandwe could be the next to kick-start a successful career in the game after gaining experience at this level.
Mwandwe signed his first professional contract with Shrewsbury in May 2019, and Salop manager Sam Ricketts will be keeping a close eye on his development at Latham Park.
The New Saints – Chris Marriott
One of the champions’ unsung heroes is one of the most decorated players in Cymru Premier history and has shown incredible consistency for The New Saints over the last decade.
A solid left-back, Chris Marriott has been one of the first names on the TNS team sheet since arriving at Park Hall back in 2009, and showed his versatility last season by slotting into the centre-back position when called upon as the Saints defence kept a new record of 20 clean sheets in 32 games.
His distribution is to be admired as he seems to always put the right pace and weight on his passes so that his team-mates never have to break stride, and it’s little details like that which helps the champions break from the back with such fluidity.
The Cymru Premier season begins on Friday, 16 August – click here to read all six match previews.