Robins bid to seal place in play offs

Reporter:

Gavin Grosvenor

NEWTOWN can all but seal a place in the end of season Europa League play-offs with victory at home to Cefn Druids on Saturday (2.30).

Three points against Druids, coupled with Llandudno dropping points against relegation threatened Aberystwyth Town on Sunday, would cement seventh spot with two games remaining.

Assistant manager Callum McKenzie insisted the Robins were ready for the challenge of Druids, managed by ex-Newtown defender Huw Griffiths.

“We trained last weekend and had an intense session in midweek,” said McKenzie. “We are ready for Druids and know three points would all but seal seventh.

“Of course it would not be mathematically certain and we'd still depend on Llandudno dropping points on Sunday but it would put us in a strong position.”

McKenzie insisted the failure to qualify for the championship conference, albeit disappointing, had provided the Robins with a springboard this season.

“We have been in the top six in each of the past three years and as clubs are likely discovering this season it is an unforgiving place where every point is hard fought,” said McKenzie. “I think we have enjoyed being in the play-off conference as it has provided a refreshing change and given us chance to build momentum.

“Should we qualify for the play-offs then we would go into them with a lot of confidence following the second half of the season we have enjoyed.”

Meanwhile the Robins assistant boss has hailed the collective over individual plaudits for the side’s turn around since January.

“It’s a happy club, it always has been,” said McKenzie. “Even when we were struggling in the first half of the season we did not let our heads drop as we knew we were only losing games by the odd goal and our luck would eventually turn.

“Obviously Jason Oswell has taken a lot of the headlines for the goals he has scored but we are a real team at Newtown and we win and lose together.

“Everyone deserves credit for the great second half to the season we are having, from defence through the midfield and up front while of course Jack Perry has stepped up in goal.

“I also think the arrival of Nick Rushton in January provided us with perhaps that extra bit of quality in attack which we may have been lacking at the start of the season.”

Goalkeeper Dave Jones made his return for the club in their under 19s fixture against Bangor City last weekend but is not expected to be set to challenge Perry for the No1 jersey.

See full story in the County Times

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