PENCOED Athletic chief Mark Powell is hoping the J D Welsh Cup can kickstart a stuttering campaign, writes Tony Poole.
However, the Felindre Road boys will have to overcome last season’s Highadmit South Wales Alliance champions Pontyclun at Ivor Park in order to fulfil that brief.
Similar 2-0 victories away to Newcastle Emlyn and home to Llantwit Fardre have set up this stiff task against Pontyclun, who have made a decent start back in Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division Three.
Pencoed haven’t previously entered the Welsh Cup, as down the years now defunct Pencoed Cricket Club utilised ground facilities during opening rounds of the competition in August.
So, the clash with Pontyclun on Saturday is the first occasion for Pencoed to reach the first-round proper of the tournament.
Having played well and bowed out of the FAW Trophy last month, going down 2-1 to Pembrokeshire giants Hakin United at the Observatory Ground in Milford Haven, manager Powell is excited and focused on the Pontyclun test.
“Pontyclun possess a strong squad and it was no real surprise that they won the Alliance championship last season and have started well back in the Welsh League,” he explained.
“The Pontyclun management team also have their fingers on the pulse, and all in all their set-up is fantastic.’’
In recent times the clubs have locked horns in the league and last winter Pencoed gained a goal-less draw at Ivor Park before losing the home rematch 4-0.
He continued: “It gives both clubs a great chance to progress in the premier Welsh cup competition - and hooking a big fish in the next round.
“We’ve trained well and having sat out last week- end’s fixture-list, the boys should be full of energy and ready to rumble in what will be a derby atmosphere at Pontyclun.’’
Team news suggests inspirational captain and centre-half Evan Price will return and recent signings Dai Lewis and Ashley Andrews will be added to the Pencoed squad.
“A win would certainly reignite our season and get us back on track in the Alliance Premier Division,” concluded Powell.