MônFM Sport’s Gareth Joy reports on the latest close season developments from Anglesey and the North West.
After securing the services of manager Chris Roberts for a fifth season running, Llangefni Town have been one of the most proactive Welsh clubs of the past week when it comes to close season preparation.
On Wednesday, the club confirmed five players had committed themselves to another season at Lon Talwrn – namely Callum Mcminimee, James Saxon, Steve Kehoe, Jack Williams & Cai Powell-Roberts.
Within 48 hours, three more members of the current squad signed new contracts. Craig Roberts, Matthew Jones and Dan ‘Bambi’ Thomas are also staying on as Cefni aim to go one step beyond claiming runners up spot in the Welsh Alliance last season.
The club have also moved quickly to appoint a new assistant manager as ex-player Gerallt Jones takes over from Rob Hughes after three years.
A Cefni stalward and a prolific scorer in his playing days, Jones was part of the side which clinched the Cymru Alliance title – and Welsh Premier promotion in 2007 under then-manager Adie Jones.
He retired just two seasons ago after an illustrious career of over 20 years that took in stints at Bangor City, Porthmadog, Glantraeth and Gwalchmai among others.
Chris Roberts said a fresh approach was needed after missing out narrowly on promotion over the past two seasons, starting with management. His new look team also includes Jason Thomas and Liam Ewing.
He added: ”Jason, Ger, Liam and myself have held numerous meetings and all have the same passion, vision and desire to take this team forward. I believe Gerallt brings a variety of things to our management team – he is very vocal, his knowledge of local football is second to none, he is a great character that will fit in well with our dressing room.”
Elsewhere, Holyhead Hotspur’s revamp continued with news on Friday that two influential players had committed to next season – Tomos Clarke and John Littlemore, who scored 11 league goals in his first year at The New Oval.
Last week, new manager Darren Garmey secured the return of two ex-Harbourmen as Jamie Roberts joined from Welsh Alliance champions Conwy Borough and keeper Carl Jones from Prestatyn Town, where relegation from the Welsh Premier has led to a mass exodus – with manager Gareth Wilson among the latest departures.
On the flip side, keeper Paul Pritchard – who opted against another season at Holyhead – has become Porthmadog’s first close season recruit.
Port were keen to find another seasoned stopper following the retirement of Richard Harvey at the end of the season – and manager Craig Papirnyk has quickly to sign a highly respected replacement.
He said on Tuesday: ”Rich was for so long was our No.1 and I felt we would need to find experience as well as the quality needed to help push us forward after him. It wouldn’t be an easy feat to come in and replace Harvey but Pritch has all the qualities needed in abundance.”
”He’s been there and done it but, more importantly, he still has the hunger and drive to want more from his career and after meeting him I knew he was the right person to come in for us and thankfully he felt exactly the same way.”
Still on the mainland, it’s believed Caernarfon Town have missed out on one of their key target signings. Instead, ex-Holywell Town captain Steve Thomas has joined WPL side Llandudno, linking up with former Cofis boss Iwan Williams. Thomas had been linked with several other clubs in the top two tiers.
After announcing extended contracts for eight players, it’s been a quiet week for the Canaries – and likewise at Bangor City following the arrival of new manager Craig Harrison.
One piece of news from Nantporth is that AFC Telford United will visit for a pre-season friendly on Saturday 28th July (3pm kick off). The National League North club are expected to bring along a full-strength squad, led by new manager Gavin Cowan.