PRE-SEASON planning appears to have done the trick at Maes Tegid.
Bala Town boss Colin Caton is delighted to see all of his players fit and raring to go, but that hasn’t always been the case at this stage of the season for the Lakesiders.
Last season, injuries blighted the beginning of the Welsh Premier League campaign for Town and that was an issue Caton was determined to tackle this summer.
“We hadn’t really set the world alight in pre-season, but it was all about resting lads and giving everyone game time,” said Caton.
“It was all about protecting the lads from injury.
“It was important we had a full strength squad to pick from for the Newtown game.”
A full-strength Bala opened the campaign in scintillating fashion last Friday night by easing to a 3-0 win versus Newtown.
“We played really well and in the first 25 minutes we were outstanding,” added Caton.
“They just couldn’t get near us.”
That was only Bala’s third opening day win since they joined the Welsh Premier League ranks eight years ago.
“Obviously, I didn’t know that was a stat,” said Caton.
“The European venture has affected people, but we changed the whole pre-season routine and it’s worked for us so far.
“It’s a good position to be in that we are injury free.”
Next up for Bala is a testing trip on Saturday to defending champions The New Saints, who will be smarting following their 5-2 opening night reverse at the hands of Bangor City.
Reflecting on that result, Caton added: “I’m not really surprised.
“Everybody is saying that TNS have had a bit of a slump and Bangor are full time.
“Connah’s Quay and TNS are full time, so it’s going to be difficult for us this season.
“That result wouldn’t have done us any favours for Saturday.
“They have lost their last two competitive games and they have got a new managerial structure in place.
“Maybe it’s not a bad time to play them.
“But, it’s going to be difficult and they have got quality.
“We will go there and we will have a game plan.”
Anthony Stephens and Conall Murtagh didn’t figure during last weekend’s win over Newtown and both will be in contention for this weekend.
Bala will be without Ryan Wade, who is suspended.
Meanwhile, The New Saints’ boss Scott Ruscoe says he will take his time over the changes he knows he needs to make after his side were thrashed by Bangor City.
After watching his side’s horror showing on Friday, Ruscoe admits he needs to make changes – but he took a positive from the depth of his squad.
“There are probably only two or three who can look back at Friday and think they deserve to start on Saturday,” he said.
“I’m not going to be hasty. We’ll watch the DVD together and see where we went wrong.
“Yes, there are places up for grabs, but we won’t be rushed into a decision – we have until Saturday with four days of training.”
S4C’s Sgorio will broadcast Saturday’s match live from Park Hall.
Viewers can join Dylan Ebenezer, Nicky John, Wales assistant manager Osian Roberts and the red-button boys Mark Jones and Tomi Morgan for the key clash.
See full story in the County Times