NEWTOWN go into the new campaign aiming to break into the top six of the JD Welsh Premier.

The Robins have brought in quality to boost their ranks while also adding long needed strength in depth in a bid to challenge following a disappointing campaign last year.

A run to JD Welsh Cup semi-final was the only highlight for supporters whose side languished in the bottom six for the second season in succession.

Manager Chris Hughes has targeted a top six place but can expect to be challenged by Cardiff Metropolitan, Cefn Druids, Barry Town and an unrecognisable Llandudno while newly promoted Caernarfon Town will also look to challenge.

Hughes said: “We have a good pre-season, we go into the season with a great buzz around the club and aim to improve on last season.

“Obviously we lost three key players last summer and had to rebuild to a certain extent but we have had a better summer this year and managed to strengthen the squad.”

Defender Ben Bailey arrives with a wealth of experience from 200 games in the Northern Premier League with Hednesford Town while midfielder Steve Leslie arrives at Latham Park with more than a century of English League games with Shrewsbury Town.

Midfielder Damian Allen also joins from Mid Wales rivals Aberystwyth Town with more than 150 games for Bangor City under his belt.

Hughes has also looked to invest in youth with attacking midfielder Jake Cook making the step up having impressed for Guilsfield in the Huws Gray Alliance while defender Callum Roberts arrives on a permanent deal having shone from Shrewsbury Town last season.

Former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wales under 18s international striker Sam Phillips completed the cast of new arrivals following his signing from Swedish club Osterlunds.

Hughes has also retained a majority of last season’s squad with the exception of the retired Jamie Price and defender Ryan Sears who impressed on loan from Shrewsbury Town last season while teenage midfielder Jordan Jones has signed for Welshpool Town.

The local nucleus at Latham Park has bas also been strengthened with Roberts and Phillips joining captain Craig Williams joined by Kieran Mills-Evans, Neil Mitchell, Luke Boundford, Dave Jones, Tom Goodwin, Jack Perry, Jolyon Harries and Craig Williams in hailing from Powys.

Hughes was confident the new faces would settle at Latham Park.

“Ben is a leader and big threat with a lot of experience while Sam has bags of skill and can be a real asset to us this season,” said Hughes.

“Callum impressed everyone at the club during his loan last season and we are delighted he has signed following his release by Shrewsbury Town.

“We are also pleased to bring Damian to the club. He is a technically good player and will bring a lot of qualities to the squad.”

Hughes added: “Steve has football league appearances under his belt and his experience is going to be a big plus for us while Jake has been a standout performer for several years with Guilsfield and really impressed us during the summer.”

Meanwhile Newtown Football Club has made moves to pave the ay for the next generation.

This summer club captain Craig Williams and team-mate Neil Mitchell have taken joint-charge of the club’s under 19s side with the aim of developing local talent and ensuring an increased flow of graduates to the ranks of the first team.

Summer signing Roberts has also taken over the coaching of the club’s under 14s side.

Club spokesman Barry Gardiner said: “It’s great to see our players taking on such roles.

“Craig and Neil are Newtown lads and want to see the next generation to have every chance of representing their hometown club in the Welsh Premier.”