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Port v Bangor - 14/02/04

A very warm welcome to you all here to Y Traeth for this afternoon's game against Bangor. It is nice be able to welcome my old club Bangor here, I must say I always get a lovely welcome when I visit Farrar Road and I hope that they will enjoy their trip to Porthmadog today.

On my last trip to Farrar Road I was sitting in the stand not far from a host of Bangor players. That has been Bangor's main problem this term far too many of their players have been sitting in the stand recovering from injury or enduring a period of suspension. Bangor have drafted in replacements which have strengthened their squad but Peter Davenport will face a few selection problems when all his players are back fit. It is hard to keep everyone happy. Rhyl, Aberystwyth and TNS also have big squads and this is the nature of football these days. We have worked with a small squad this season. As you can see from the statistical breakdown elsewhere in the programme only 18 players have started games for us this term. A small squad has advantages but it can also be devastating. When we had that poor run of results earlier in the season we were struggling at times and it was not the time to throw in young inexperienced players from the Reserves. But when you have 20 players vying for 14 spaces in the squad it is the hardest job in management to have to tell the ones left out. As a former player I know how gutted I felt if I was left out of the team.

Our last game was that thrilling 1-1 draw against TNS. I feel that result was quite an achievement. A number of people commented that our fitness levels were good and it was hard to see who were the full-time players. I have to praise the players here they are professional in their attitude and will train on their own if they miss training for one reason or another. They work hard for each other on the pitch and their efforts were rewarded in that game.

It is interesting looking at the League table after 20 games. As far as we are concerned I am pleased with our season so far. There is a big contrast between our first 10 games (3 wins and 7 defeats) and our second 10 (5 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats). If we can maintain this level of performance then who knows where we could finish. Many believed that third from bottom would have been an achievement for us, but now I want us to move forward again. The League is between TNS and Rhyl. Aber, Haverfordwest and Bangor are fighting for third spot, but then eight clubs are separated by only 8 points. Anybody who can string together a good run could finish in sixth spot. That is a massive incentive to all eight. I am certain that we will be in there doing the best we can.

Finally I was interested to see that Colin Addison has taken charge at Barry. He is a manager who always seems to get a quick response when he joins a club. I am sure that is what Barry are hoping. I have a sneaky suspicion that the relegation issue is far from settled and may yet throw up a few shocks. Thanks for your support.


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