After a very busy summer it’s time to look at Bangor City’s chances for this years WPL 2016/2016 season. A look at new additions, old faces and big names.
In the words of the Specials it’s a dawning of a new era. For the Citizens this new season is perhaps the most highly anticipated one for a long time! With new owners, a stronger squad and a new manager, Andy Legg, an air of excitement is around Nantporth.
However it is not just City who have revamped and bolstered their squads ahead of the new campaign. Bala Town and Connah’s Quay have also had an active and promising preseason, on and off the pitch. This season has been tipped to be one of the most competitive for years, Andy Legg certainly has his work cut out to succeed in obtaining the high level of success expected by fans.
Daniel Nardiello, Jamie Reed, Henry Jones, Laurence Wilson, Gary Roberts, Oscar Durnin, Danny Gosset and Jacques Kpohomouh
Porya Ahmadi, Adam Cummings, Michael Elstone, Chris Jones, Declan Walker, Matty Woodward, Ruan Edwards and Iolo Hughes
Lee Owens, Ryan Wade and Tom Field
Although this transfer window has seen many players flock from Bangor, some very talented ones such as Declan Walker, the players brought in to bolster the squad certainly do not lack talent.
No worries at all in this department for Bangor as they keep hold of their very talented shot stopper, Welshman Connor Roberts. The shot stopper who since joining in the January transfer window in 2015 has became a vital player to Bangor. Strong in the air, vocal, commanding and with excellent shot stopping ability the Citizens are in safe hands.
As well as having a strong first team goalkeeper Bangor also have a strong backup option in Antoni Sarnowski. The young shot stopper who was vital in Bangor’s u19 success last season provides the Citizens with a very good back up choice.
In recent seasons Bangor’s defence has looked shaky. The Citizens never fully replaced the stalwart defenders and captains Jamie Brewerton and Michael Johnston who kept the back line in check and who brought bags of experience. With Adam Cummings having left the Citizens this summer many were worried as Bangor lost yet another strong defender.
However new signings Jacques Kpohomouh and Laurence Wilson look set to add some solidity to the back line. 19 year old Kpohomouh is a tall, strong defender who can tackle well and dominates in the air. This preseason he has really impressed, playing his heart out each game and playing very well. Whether it be tackling, clearing or pulling off a pass to start a counter attack, he has shown he is a more than capable CB. He is also a threat from set pieces as he has shown aerial dominance this preseason, winning most balls he jumps for. Alongside Captain Leon Clowes, another strong CB, Bangor’s back four looks to be a quality one. Clowes is very much a traditional defender, tackle and clear it, however that does not mean he can’t pass. It isn’t a rare sight to see Clowes abandon his role and charge forward with some power. Back up CB Antony Miley provides Bangor with a very strong back up, a very vocal and passionate player. Being able to play at RB also he is also an important player in the team. LB Wilson who’s impressive CV highlights his talent, will certainly be a good addition to the squad. With the addition of this LB it begs the question, where does that leave Sam Hart? The clubs first team LB for multiple seasons may be pushed out by Wilson’s arrival, however due to Hart’s defensive capabilities, attacking runs and set piece accuracy I doubt he will be pushed to the sidelines. Wilson can play as a defensive midfielder so perhaps that is where his role will be when Sam Hart returns from an injury he sustained in preseason. Bangor won’t be short of quality at LB this season
One problem, however, is the lack of a right back at the club. Having seen Declan Walker and newly signed Lee Owens leave the club, Bangor are stuck without a natural RB.
The Citizens defense, despite having no RB, looks a strong one this season. But with a multitude of talented strikers and attacking players in the WPL this season only time will tell whether it holds up.
New signings Henry Jones, Gary Roberts and youngster Danny Gosset look set to impress in midfield this season. Jones, an impressive CM, can bring an attacking edge to Bangors game with his accurate and often impressive passes. Alongside playmaker and assistant manager Damien Allen, who is also an impressive and talented CM capable of excellent passes, Bangor have an impressive attacking midfield lined up. However Bangor do not lack defensive midfielders either, Gary Roberts, a new signing from Malta, has shown his strength in midfield. A vocal player who’s no fear attitude to tackles and determination to win the ball makes him a strong defensive midfielder. With the ability to also pull off a long ball to the attacking line he also makes for an impressive attacking outlet as well as defensive. Roberts also has locked in his arsenal a blistering shot, and the ability to deliver a good freekick. Ashley Young, who will be seeing his second season in a blue shirt, however is the strongest defensive midfielder at the club. Another vocal and strong central midfielder, who with passion a good tackling ability and like Roberts a no fear attitude towards tackling is a crucial player for the blues. Young is a very strong and impressive defensive midfielder and will provide Bangor’s midfield with some defensive strength as well as attacking. Young will also provide the City back four with some security as he holds of attackers.
To summarise, Bangor’s midfield this season looks very strong, with a multiple range of midfielders, from defensive to attacking. The Citizens midfield is an impressive one that not only boasts talents with the likes of ex Swansea player Henry Jones and TNS starlet Danny Gosset, but also experience with Ashley Young, Damien Allen and Gary Roberts who are all experienced as well as talented midfielders.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the Citizens arsenal this season is their attackers. With new strikers Jamie Reed and Daniel Nardiello, the Citizens attacking line has bags of ability and a potential for a hatful of goals. Along with two extremely talented strikers, Bangor also have a pair of wingers who bring pace and creativity to their attack. Bangor legend Sion Edwards and Christian Langos will both provide Bangor with goals and assists. Edward’s strength, determination and passion coupled with pace, talent and a stinger of a shot make him a deadly winger and an excellent player on the left wing. On the right Bangor can boast Christian Langos, a pacey winger with so much energy. Like Sion Edwards he to posses a determined mentality, an ability to break down defenses alone and run teams ragged.
Bangor’s attack is perhaps their forte this season as they look for European glory. With players who posses so much talent and the ability to grab a hatful of goals for the Citizens, goals should not be a problem. Bangor’s back up attackers are also an exciting group of players, with some being new signings such as Oscar Durnin, and also u19 players. Alex Boss is one of a few u19 players called up to the first team. An exciting player with blistering pace and an eye for goal he will certainly be a strong back up choice. Shaun Cavanagh also an exciting back up choice, having been in the first team for a few seasons he certainly has shown he is capable in the squad. He can bring some goals to the already threatening Bangor frontline.
New manager Andy Legg, a popular and well supported choice of manager, will be hoping for glory this season. After multiple seasons of rather disappointing league positions Andy Legg is set the challenge of breaking this pattern. Having managed WPL club Llanelli Town, Legg is no stranger to the Welsh Premier League. Legg also has the advantage of having Damien Allen as assistant manager. Allen knows the players and the capabilities of the players very well, having been at the club for some years and also holding the role of player coach. However having been out of the managerial game since the folding of Llanelli Town in 2011 only time will tell whether Legg is a success.
Predicted Finish: 4th
The general opinion on whether or not Bangor will succeed or not is rather split. Some say they will succeed however others are dubious. I myself have opted for the positive outlook. With a revamped squad, containing a mixture of old faces and new faces, and a new manager with fresh ideas, it is a recipe for success. With the huge success of the talented u19s team last season we see a number of youngsters called up to bolster the squad and add depth, adding further talent to the squad. Andy Legg faces a tough season ahead of him in what looks set to be one of the most competitive seasons for a few years. However the aim is clear, to obtain European football. To take Bangor City back to European football. Many have said it would be a big step in the right direction for returning Bangor to the heights of Welsh football.