WPL 2017/18 PREVIEW: Cefn Druids AFC
CAN CEFN DRUIDS EMULATE LAST SEASON’S IMPRESSIVE FINISH?
What a difference a year can make! Last season Cefn Druids were favourite for relegation, but a sublime second half of the season led them to their highest ever Welsh Premier League finish.
This season, the Ancients, will be hoping to build on the fantastic performances in the second half of last season, which saw them only lose once in their last 10 matches. One thing noticeable about the Ancients as they head into the 2017/18 campaign, is how much more confident onlookers are of their ability this season, with some tipping them to continue on last season’s form and become dark horses in the race for Europe. With a never-say-die attitude at the club, there are several reasons why the Ancients might end up providing a few shocks this season.
The core of the squad from last season remains, as only Jake Phillips departs, with the young defender joining Connah’s Quay Nomads and becoming one of the 4 first Professional players at the Flintshire club. Cefn Druids meanwhile have brought in 5 players to strengthen the team, with forwards Lewis Buckley, James Davies and Ilan Ap Gareth joining, alongside experienced full back Neil Ashton and versatile defender Ben Burrows. Perhaps the biggest signing for the Ancients will be last season’s top scorer Ashley Ruane, who has decided to remain at the club and sign a new contract following the expiration of his previous one.
Pre-season has been a chance to see how Cefn Druids can react to an increase in expectations from their fans, who have every right to expect the same level of performances that the players showed in the impressive second half of the last campaign. They opened their pre-season with a big game against Vanarama National League side Wrexham, losing 3-1. However, since that first match, they have bounced back, winning 6 and drawing 2, beating Whitchurch, Porthmadog, Tamworth, Cefn Albion, Widnes and Denbigh as they remained unbeaten for the rest of their pre-season schedule.
Under the careful leadership of Huw Griffiths, Cefn Druids have become a difficult team to beat, and it should be a season to remember for the side as they hope to build on last season’s terrific finish.
James Davies-Llanfair United
Ilan Ap Gareth-Chester
Jake Phillips-Connah’s Quay Nomads
‘Cefn Druids enjoyed a remarkable rise last season, can they continue their impressive form this campaign?’
Photo Credit: Welsh Premier League
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