Newtown AFC manager Chris Hughes expects a tough encounter with Carmarthen Town when they visit Latham Park on Saturday in the Welsh Premier League.
This Saturday our JD Welsh Premier League campaign continues as our last fixture before the festivities sees the Old Gold come to town.
The club is in high spirits after the Robins won 3-1 at home to Llandudno Town last Saturday night that went out live on S4C.
The win has put Newtown in 4th place with five games remaining before the league splits into two next month as the reds are aiming to reach the top 6.
Hughes remains focused on ending the first half of the season on a high and is not taking anything for granted despite the win from last weekend.
He said: “It is another tough game for us.”
The previous encounter between both Newtown and Carmarthen had the South Wales club beat the Robins, 3-0, back in September.
“I think they did a job on us when we visited their place. The first half an hour of that game we did well and then after that they scored goals at the right times and deservedly won the game,” Hughes added.
“So we are under no illusions of how tough it is going to be. I’ve got a lot of respect for Neil (Smothers), he took in difficult circumstances last year and kept them in the league and again he’s got a good group of players there.”
Neil Smothers played at Carmarthen for 11 seasons from 2004/05 up until the end of last season (2017/18).
The Old Gold boss also played for Newport County and Cefn Forest. Smothers travelled to Australia to spend a year down under working as a coach and as a player.
The 41-year-old’s other experience in the Welsh Premier League was playing for UWIC Inter Cardiff, Cwmbran Town and Port Talbot before joining Carmarthen.
“Neil has experience with some young players who are an energetic side especially in midfield and up front they are full of energy.
“They are certainly going to be on our guard come Saturday because they have got good players like Luke Bowen and Liam Thomas.
“Neil has experience with some young players who are an energetic side especially in midfield and up front.”
“They’ve got players that on the day can hurt you so we’ll be very respectful of them, we know what they are about.
“But from our point of view, do we want to follow it up? Our second half performances was very pleasing on Saturday and we are in a good space at the moment. We want to keep that going.”
With Saturday being the last before the big day on December 25th, we asked the boss how the team get ready for a game a day straight after Christmas Day.
“At Christmas it’s about finding a balance, it’s that time of year where everyone celebrates and enjoys themselves. We’ll do that and the players will do that on Christmas Day with their families and relax and then come Boxing Day they know what they need to do.”
Newtown are so far undefeated at Latham Park in the Welsh Premier League campaign by winning 6 matches and drawing 2 of them.
Hughes said: “People say ‘your home form is important’ and we are no different. I suppose it goes to show how well the players have done this year and how they’ve implemented certain game plans.
“We need to follow-up from Llandudno’s performance – we’ve addressed that to the players. There’s other parts where I thought we played really well so we need to keep striving for consistency in our performance.”
|Full name||Carmarthen Town Association Football Club|
|Capacity||3,000 (1,000 seated)|
Match Day 18 of 22
Aberystwyth v Cefn Druids (Friday, 19:45)
Saturday 14:30 as follows
Llanelli v Bala Town
Newtown v Carmarthen Town
Llandudno Town v The New Saints
Connah’s Quay v Cardiff Met
Barry Town v Caernarfon Town (19:35 – S4C)