NEWTOWN manager Chris Hughes is relishing the prospect of locking horns with Bala Town on Saturday (2.30):

The Lakesiders arrive at Latham Park with confidence after seeing off Guilsfield in the Nathaniel MG Cup in midweek.

Hughes said: “They have a big squad and I fully expect them to be challenging TNS for the title come the end of the season.

“I watched them play Druids a few weeks back and while they did not play as well as they can they found a way to win which is a sign of a good team.”

Hughes was content with a point from last week’s goalless draw at Llandudno and Newtown’s four point haul so far this season.

“We dictated possession and while we did not win I think we have to be pleased to have played so well and dominated away from home,” said Hughes.”

Newtown is expecting another tough test against Bala Town with star midfielders Chris Venables and Henry Jones likely to be pulling the strings.

However Hughes was not daunted and backed his side to maintain their solid start to the campaign.

“We have shown we can compete already this season, we were unlucky not to get a point at Cardiff Met and have picked up four points from our last two games.”

Striker Nick Rushton returns to contention after becoming a father a fortnight ago and will look to press for a starting berth.

“On behalf of everyone at Newtown Football Club we extend our congratulations Nick and his partner at this time,” said Hughes. “Nick is a great lad and valued part of the squad.”

Meanwhile Craig Williams serves the second of his three match ban following his dismissal against Caernarfon Town a fortnight ago.

Despite the captain’s loss his manager insisted he had full faith in his versatile squad to fill Williams’ boots until his return.

“We have a few lads who can play in a variety of positions and I have every confidence in them stepping up as they have done in the past and did last week in Llandudno,” said Hughes.

“It’s a big game and one we are looking forward to.”