NEWTOWN bid to take a step toward safety when Rhyl visit Griffiths Latham Park on Saturday (2.30pm).
The Robins go into the clash with confidence high following a 2-1 win at Llandudno last week which saw them leapfrog Rhyl out of the relegation zone.
In contrast Rhyl arrive at Latham Park embroiled in controversy following striker Carl Lamb’s suspension by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) for a failed drugs test.
Lamb follows Andy Moran in making unwanted history for Rhyl as the second player to receive a drugs ban in the club’s Welsh Premier history with the former stripped of his Golden Boot award in 2004 after testing positive for a banned substance.
Newtown manager Chris Hughes insisted the Robins could only focus on their game and building on the positives of last week’s 2-1 win at Llandudno.
“The lads played really well, we had a good intensity to our game in the first-half and deserved to be ahead at the break,” said Hughes. “They put a lot of balls into our box in the second-half but we dealt with it.
“Myself and the players were very disappointed with the penalty decision and still do not know what it was for.”
Hughes heaped praise on young goalkeeper Jack Perry who stepped up to take over the goalkeeper’s jersey with regular incumbent Dave Jones injured.
“Jack has been patient and worked hard over the last three years,” said Hughes. “He did everything that was expected of him and I thought he had an exceptional game.”
Hughes hopes the second phase of the season will see Newtown climb the table with nine games left to save their campaign.
o“We lost too many games by the odd goal in the first phase, we were not playing badly but we did not have the best of luck,” said Hughes. “Hopefully we can get a run going now.
“The play-off conference or relegation conference will be very tight as I can see very little between the six sides,” said Hughes. “Everyone has played each other at least twice already so everyone knows exactly what to expect.
“We must aim to get a run going and accumulate as many points as possible and aim for safety first and then seventh place.”
Goalkeeper Dave Jones is expected to return to contention with defender Gavin Cadwallader also improving his fitness following a run out at Llandudno.
See full story in the County Times