TWO of the form sides come face to face today when The New Saints tackle Bangor City at Oswestry’s Park Hall.
Both outfits go into the encounter in good shape with TNS having won their last five outings, and Bangor their last four to thrust themselves into the reckoning for Europe.
The Saints will be under no illusions about the task after suffering their only home defeat this season at the hands of Bangor in a 2-1 league cup defeat.
But it’s a challenge that Saints boss Ken McKenna is relishing as he looks to cement the full-timers’ spot at the top of the table in their pursuit of a fourth successive title.
“Bangor will be tough – they are coming here in good form and with a good reputation but it’s a challenge our players are looking forward to,” he said.
The Saints, now unbeaten in 18 league outings, are two points clear at the top, an advantage McKenna is keen to maintain against fourth-placed Bangor.
They are unlikely to show many changes from the side that won 2-1 at Caersws last weekend, although midfielders Steven Beck and Jamie Wood may come back into the reckoning. Strike duo Mike Wilde and Ronnie Morgan remain on the sidelines.
Les Davies, whose 15 goals for Bangor City included the brace which knocked TNS out of the league cup in November, will return to the Oswestry ground today looking for more, writes Keith Evans.
And the big striker has every reason to feel on top of the world this weekend.
He and partner Nicola are celebrating the arrival on Thursday night of baby Ellie Grace, their first family member.
Davies said: “She arrived just in time and both mother and child are fine.
“It should be a great game and we like playing on their plastic pitch, which is not much different from grass.”
However, City have not won an away league game against The Saints since 1998.
Manager Nev Powell said: “We are under no illusions about what we will be up against.
“But we are confident, without being over-confident, because of our great run during the past four months.”
Left-back Martin Beattie will check out an ankle knock but injured midfielder Kieran Killackey is still out – while City are still hoping for a last-minute striker signing.
Meanwhile, Llangefni Town are looking for “the upset of the season” in today’s trip to second-placed Llanelli.
The bottom side’s new boss Alex Kevan said: “Anything we can pick up there – a point or more – would be a tremendous bonus in the circumstances.”
Llangefni, under Adie Jones’s stewardship, were hammered 5-1 at their own Talwrn Road ground by rampant Llanelli.
The Stebonheath Park squad eliminatedWrexham from the Premier Cup in a 4-2 extra time triumph on Wednesday.
Kevan said: “Here’s hoping we can catch them on an off day.
“Our intention is to go out there and see if we can cause the upset of the season.”
Llangefni, who have won just once in nine games, have to discount Jason Sadler, the striker signed from Porthmadog who is unavailable, and suspended midfield inspiration Steve Kehoe.
Captain Graham Austin (eye infection) and strikers Chris Jones (calf strain) and Kevin Lloyd (ankle) are doubtful, although Tony Davies and Chris Evans will return.
lTHE New Saints’ postponed FAW Premier Cup clash at Carmarthen will now be replayed next Tuesday (7pm).