GUILSFIELD head into the new campaign determined to continue their tradition of competing among the elite of the Huws Gray Aliance.

Manager Nathan Leonard enjoyed a dream debut at the helm and has bolstered his squad with the arrival of striker Steve Blenkinsop from Caersws.

The former Cefn Druids striker will look to fill the boots of striker Asa Hamilton following his departure to Alliance rivals Airbus UK Broughton in the summer.

Playmaker Jake Cook has also been snapped up by JD Welsh Premier side Newtown while goalkeeper Andy Wycherley has joined Telford following an impressive loan spell at Clos Mytton from TNS last season.

Stalwart midfielder Gareth Jones has also departed to take up a new coaching role with MMP-NL Mid Wales League One side Caersws.

Leonard has invested in youth with the recruitment of TNS prospect James Parry while retaining faith with the core of last season’s squad to deliver.

Meanwhile Leonard will look to blood several of the club’s youngsters during the campaign.

The loss of key men Hamilton and Cook, along with mainstay Jones, will see the Guils look to the experience of Andy Ford, Chris Cathrall and Callum Bromley as well as striker Adam Jenkins.

The loss of the trio has seen the Guils tipped to be among the strugglers this season but confidence in the camp remains high as the villagers look to repeat last season’s top six finish.

Club spokesman Martin Roberts said: “The club is under no illusion as to the quality of the teams in the Alliance this year.

“With a host of big name clubs looking to reach former glories the task to compete at this level will be just as challenging as previous seasons.”

Roberts reckoned home form would be key to the Guils fulfilling their aims for the campaign with their first test at Clos Mytton represented by the visit of fallen Welsh Premier giants Bangor City.

“We will be looking to build a strong home record having only lost once at home last season and being difficult to beat on their travels,” said Roberts.

“As ever the club welcome all supporters to Clos Mytton to see a very good standard of competitive football against some of the top teams in the region.”

The Guils open their campaign with a trip to newly promoted Conwy Borough before hosting Bangor City in their home debut for the campaign before embarking on an early season midweek derby at Mid Waes rivals Penrhyncoch.