WPL 2017/18 PREVIEW: Carmarthen Town AFC
CAN CARMARTHEN CONTINUE TO MAKE PROGRESS TOWARDS EUROPE?
This season will be one for Carmarthen Town to attempt to placate themselves as consistent European challengers, having qualified for the European Play Off’s twice in the past 3 seasons, but failing to reach the final on either occasion. However, heading into the new campaign, the Old Gold look like a team that’s ready to hit the ground running as it’s been a very promising summer for the side.
Carmarthen have been active in the transfer market, bringing in 5 new faces, and allowing 3 players to depart the club. Those joining the Old Gold are young former Aberystwyth Town winger Kostya Georgievsky from Penybont, midfielder Liam Walsh from Wrexham, winger Kyle Williams from Goytre, centre back Scott Delaney from Goodwick United and young striker Tyler Brock, who joins from Welsh Football League Division 2 side Pontardawe Town. By looking at these new signings, it appears as though Carmarthen have focused on recruiting talented young players to the side, and manager Mark Aizlewood will be hoping the new signings will prove their worth this season.
Meanwhile, departing the club are forwards Mark Jones and Kyle Bassett, who both drop down into the Welsh Football League Division 1, joining Afan Lido and Goytre AFC respectively. Also departing the Old Gold is midfielder Declan Carroll, who has rejoined Welsh Premier League rivals Aberystwyth Town.
In Mark Aizlewood, Carmarthen Town have a manager who’s been involved with football for over 40 years, first as a professional, playing for the likes of Charlton Athletic, Leeds United and Bristol City, then as a coach and assistant manager at Chester, before joining Carmarthen in 2012 as First Team Manager. He was also a full Wales international, making 39 appearances for the senior side. Aizlewood has been at clubs where there were good times, bad times, and almost everything in between, so his presence in the Carmarthen Town dugout has been a welcome one for the club since his appointment in 2012.
The Old Gold has been in fine form ahead of the 2017/18 season, being one of the standout teams due to their pre-season performances. Their pre-season got underway with a win at Welsh Football League Division 3 side Cwmamman United, before the Old Gold went on to beat Cambrian and Clydach, STM Sports, Goytre United, Afan Lido and Port Talbot Town. Their final pre-season match was away at Welsh Premier League side Cardiff Met FC, which ended in a goalless draw, as Carmarthen Town completed their pre-season preparations unbeaten.
They often say in football that a good start to the season is vital for a successful campaign, and Carmarthen Town will be hoping that they can get off to a flying start. However, with 6 consecutive away games to start the 2017/18 campaign, as a 3G pitch is installed at their ground Richmond Park, they will be under pressure to ensure that they don’t allow it to derail a potentially successful season, especially with the league looking so competitively balanced heading into the new campaign. Of course, there’s no reason why they can’t start well, and with good pre-season form and exciting new signings being added to a strong squad with an experienced manager that knows all the ins and outs of football, they should be able to cope. As far as expectations come for the side, reaching the Play-Off Final and qualifying for Europe are two of the most likely ways of improving on last season’s 5th placed finish, otherwise their faithful supporters will be hoping its more of the same from the Old Gold this season.
Kyle Williams-Goytre AFC
Scott Delaney-Goodwick United
Declan Carroll-Aberystwyth Town
Mark Jones-Afan Lido
Kyle Bassett-Goytre AFC
‘Carmarthen Town in their pre-season match vs STM Sports, which they won 3-1’
Photo Credit: Carmarthen Town AFC
Photo available from: https://twitter.com/CarmarthenAFC/status/883679742469255168