TEENAGER Michael Johnston will be thrown in at the deep end at Welshpool Town today to ease Bangor City’s defensive crisis.
The Birkenhead-born 19-year-old, who spent two seasons at Tranmere, will partner Peter Hoy in the heart of City’s back-line.
But Bangor must cope without two of their regular defenders – Lee Webber has a knee injury and Martin Beattie serves a one-match ban.
Among the midfielders Craig Hutchinson is another absentee, also through injury, while Gareth Parry has returned to Porthmadog.
City, having stretched last season’s champions The New Saints in a 2-1 home defeat last weekend, need a win to restore morale.
But manager Nev Powell conceded that Welshpool will be a handful on their home debut this term.
Powell said: “Welshpool’s three wins in four games were achieved on opponents’ grounds, which is no mean feat. They have a strong and talented squad.
“Even so, if we perform as we did against TNS we will be capable of getting the right result. With Newi Cefn Druids coming here on Tuesday, it would be encouraging for us to put together a little run.”
Welshpool boss Tommi Morgan is anxious to maintain his team’s momentum, writes John Bridgwater.
“We’ve made a more positive start than last season when I think we had one win from five games,” he said. “After losing against Llanelli in our first game, the lads have come back well and shown a lot of character.
“We now want to keep that going and start well at home where we had a good record last season. Bangor are going to make it hard for us as they are a good side who have made some good signings.”
Striker Steve Rogers is back in contention after a hamstring injury, but a doubt surrounds the availability of front runner Aden Shannon. Pool have brought in former Shrewsbury keeper Danny Jones from Shawbury.
Meanwhile, Newtown’s latest capture Tommy Mutton will not make his debut in today’s home clash with Carmarthen Town.
Mutton, formerly of Connah’s Quay and more recently Bangor City, was snapped up before this week’s transfer deadline, but is unavailable for his first three games.
Manager Darren Ryan was delighted to sign the lively Mutton as he looks to improve his side’s goal output.
“When a player of his quality becomes available, you’ve got to snap him up,” he said. “He’s a proven goalscorer and will give us options up front.”
His arrival means the Robins could eventually field a three-man strikeforce with Mutton teaming up Marc Lloyd Williams and Craig Moses.
Newtown will be looking to build on their 1-1 draw at Connah’s Quay last Friday.
“That was a 100% improvement on our last away game at Port Talbot, although we’re still not firing on all cylinders at the moment,” added Ryan.
Kevin Scott is suspended after being dismissed against the Nomads, his place likely to go to Damien Daniels.
Danny Jellicoe and Moses should be fit, while Hugh Clarke is again likely to be included despite being troubled by an Achilles problem but Richard Williams Cooke is out with fluid on the knee.
Newtown, meanwhile, failed in their bid to sign Caersws defender Colin Reynolds after the Bluebirds rejected the request.