The Robins head to Oswestry on Friday night as they face The New Saints in the Welsh Premier League (7:45pm).
We are now into 2019 after what was a good 2018 for Newtown AFC especially wrapping up the year with a top six qualification after beating Aberystwyth Town last Sunday.
There are now two games remaining before the league splits into two groups of six.
Our penultimate match is away to the Welsh Premier League champions, The New Saints, for Friday night football at Park Hall. The final game to complete Phase 1 is at home to Cefn Druids.
The previous meeting was at Latham Park earlier this season when the Robins were able to grab a point from the league champions after TNS were down to 10 men.
Over two months on from the encounter in Mid-Wales, both sides already know that they will face each other twice more after the league splits.
But despite their successful qualifications for Phase 2, there is still everything to play for both Newtown and TNS.
The New Saints
|Full name||The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club|
|Capacity||2,034 (1,034 seated)|
|League||Welsh Premier League|
|2017–18||Welsh Premier League, 1st|
Jake Cook will be back in the squad ahead of the trip to Oswestry after recovering from an illness over the festivities and every other member of the squad will be available for Chris Hughes’ selection.
VIEWS FROM THE MANAGER
Chris Hughes on 2018 for the Robins…
“The latter part of 2018 has been very good, it’s been exceptional really in terms of our performances and our results.
“On Sunday, I thought we were solid without being spectacular – it summed up the two games against Aberystwyth over the festive period. Defensively we were very good and when the chances came we took them.
“That’s probably the difference between the two teams.”
Chris Hughes on upcoming match versus The New Saints…
“We did win there last year and I think even in the game this season we ran them close. They were given a penalty that was debatable and in my opinion there was a stone wall penalty that we should have had with virtually the last kick of the game with a really good chance of winning it.
“It’s a fixture that we always enjoy – a game that I certainly enjoy because you want to play against the best.
“We now know that we are playing them twice after the league splits. Friday night will be a difficult game, they’ve got top players and they are a very good team on their day and they have recently picked up big score lines against other teams. We will be wary of that.
“We have a brave way of playing against them that has got us results. It’ll be something that we will try to implement again on Friday night.”
Chris Hughes on Welsh Premier League title race…
“I think this just shows the standard of the league. I think TNS will expect to win the league again and I’m sure their manager (Scott Ruscoe) has already said that.
“They’ve got players that have been there, seen it and done it. I’m sure come the end of the season that they will be up their again.”
Chris Hughes on Nick Rushton’s goal scoring form…
“It was an area we looked at back in the summer that we knew that we needed to score more goals if we were to do something special this season. An area that we have addressed – with Nick he is an outgoing goal scorer.
“If you give him opportunities he doesn’t often miss and that has been proven in the games. In the last three or four games especially Boxing Day and last Sunday, the chances he had were very similar and he showed what a very good finisher he is.”
- Nick Rushton has scored at least once in the last three matches.
- Newtown have only won on three occasions at TNS out of the 12 visits. Their last win at Park Hall was on December 30, 2017 when the Robins won 2-4.
- Newtown have successfully scored in their previous 16 league matches home and away – the last time Newtown failed to score in the Welsh Premier League was on September 8 away to Carmarthen Town when they lost 3-0.
- Nick Rushton is currently the league’s 5th highest goal scorer by finding the net 10 times in 1611 minutes played.
- TNS have won three matches on the bounce after their draw with Bala Town back on December 14th.
- The Welsh Premier League champions have also scored 14 goals in their previous three league matches.
- The Saints’ current top goal scorer is striker Greg Draper with 14 goals to his name in 622 minutes played so far this season.
Matches played – 28
Newtown AFC wins – 4
TNS wins – 15
Draws – 9
MATCH DAY 21
Aberystwyth Town vs Connah’s Quay Nomads
The New Saints vs Newtown
Cardiff Met vs Bala Town
Cefn Druids vs Barry Town
Llanelli Town vs Llandudno Town
Caernarfon Town vs Carmarthen Town
— Newtown AFC (@NewtownAFC) January 3, 2019