THE Spar Mid Wales League Two title race is expected to dominated by South Powys clubs this season.
New Presteigne manager Shaun Harris has spent the summer bolstering the squad and targeted promotion to the first tier following several years in the doldrums.
“We are hoping for promotion or at least challenging near the top end of the table,” said Harris.
Despite the loss of Ashley Griffiths to Malvern Vale the Llanandras Park club have welcomed no less than 13 new players ahead of the new campaign.
Striker Marcus Jones heads the cast and is joined by Mike Ruckledge, Kieran Thomas, Liam Fletcher, Jack Brazier and Dan Brazier in signing from Leominster Town.
Rory Hackett and Jack Biggs also make the move from Hay St Marys as Harris plots a sustained title challenge.
Builth Wells have also targeted a return to the third tier and have welcomed three major signings to spearhead their challenge.
Midfielder Jonny Samuel arrives from Rhayader Town along with Adie Jones from Knighton Town while Harry Bastable has also returned to his hometown club fromm Carno.
The Bulls have also elevated several promising youngsters, including Ryan Powell, Darren Powell, Jack Hughes and Alex Hicks to the first team while defender Lee James returns following long term injury.
Newbridge will be jointly led by Ieuan Price and Adriano Girolami next season with last season’s youthful squad boosted by the arrival of Jake Bufton from local rivals Penybont.
Penybont will be led by new manager Phil Davies next season with the Polecats targeting a mid-table finish.
Davies said “The club has some exciting young footballers who can develop throughout the season and it’s been a very successful summer for us in terms of hanging onto these players.”
Hay St Marys will rebuild in the second tier following their voluntary demotion from the first division and will blood a youthful squad next season.
Only Will Goodwin and Adie Lawford remain from last season’s first team with goalkeeper Steve Jones returning following a season break and defender Jordan Bailey signing from Gwent League football.
“It's a rebuilding process for the club and we are just looking to consolidate,” said outgoing chairman Martin Tong.
Newboys Talgarth Town and Brecon Northcote complete South Powys interest with the duo retaining the core of last season’s squads in their bid to consolidate this term.
Dolgellau Athletic welcome Barmouth pair Sion Lloyd and Iwan Kojs to Cae Marian as interim manager Stephen Parry looks to build a side capable of sustaining a promotion push.
Aberystwyth University will also look to their fresh intake of students to mount a promotion bid having ended last season on a high by lifting the ER Jenkins Cup.
However the Students have lost several key players from last season, including striker Shaun Roberts to Trewern.
Llansantffraid Village have welcomed veteran Wayne Austin from Llanrhaeadr with defender Dan Weaver heading the other way as manager Ray Jones looks to improve on last season’s mid-table finish.
Meanwhile Dyffryn Banw have welcomed the return of Aled Davies and James Vaughan from Llanfair United as the Llangadfan club seek an improvement on last season.
Local rivals Abermule and Montgomery Town spearhead the Montgomeryshire challenge.
Veteran manager Clive McNamee has lost Gethin Stephens and Ryan Evans to Llanfair United and player of the season Adam Williams to Carno and will invest his faith in the club’s emerging talent.
Secretary Bryan Jarman said: “We are hoping to make improvements to our final position. We are proud to see players promoted to the first team from within the club and those that have moved on have moved up the football pyramid”
Montgomery Town will be managed by Piers Thomas and Ryan O’Sullivan next season as the Canaries seek to bounce back from relegation.
A busy summer at Clos Tanymur has seen a crop of new faces arrive, led by James Coleman, Huw Wainwright and Jack Williams from Caersws, while veterans, Paul Evans, Tony Meredith, Dan Lewis and Jamie Bocking have departed for pastures new.
See full story in the County Times