When the Welsh Premier League fixtures were released last month, it drew up an interesting clash between The New Saints and Bangor City, but could it be a clash of the two title contenders?
On the 11th August, The Citizens will host reigning Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints at Nantporth as Kevin Nicholson begins life in his third competitive fixture and first Welsh Premier League fixture as Bangor City manager.
But could this fixture already have so much significance already despite being one of the opening games of the season, despite another thirty-one games to be played?
The New Saints of course will be under new management following the departure of Craig Harrison and this game will be as big to The New Saints as it is to Bangor.
Scott Ruscoe will want to begin life in the Welsh Premier League as the clubs new manager and this makes for an exciting match between the two sides.
The New Saints, Bala Town, Bangor City and the Connah's Quay Nomads will all feel that they have a realistic chance of fighting for Wales' top prize this season as the chasing pack look to close the gap on The New Saints strong-hold of the Welsh Premier League.
Speaking to WPL.Cymru, Scott Ruscoe is aware of the sides around him but the expectations are still the same and is aware of the quality that is coming in to the league from The New Saints' competitors.
‘I think it is good that our competitors are signing a higher level of players, it’s great for the league without a doubt and it only increases the standard of the games and of the football on show across the league.
‘We’ll be looking to go on a lengthy unbeaten run again, and I’ll be looking for consistent performances as well as getting some momentum in the league again that would put us in pole position to fight off any challengers – that’s our target for the first few weeks of the season without a doubt.’
Whilst Bangor have lost quality in Henry Jones and Gary Roberts who have since joined non-league side AFC Fylde and Southport, the Citizens have moved quickly to replace those who have sought pastures new, as well as bringing in some added quality which could possible put them as the strongest contender to the WPL throne and perhaps claim their 4th Premier League title.
Those signings Ruscoe could be alluding to is the signing of experienced Football League footballer Danny Holmes who has experienced what t's like to win a Welsh Premier League having been a part of The New Saints' title win a few season back. The signing of Holmes could also been as an apt replacement for departing captain Gary Roberts.
Strikers wise, Bangor City have them in abundance with Rodrigo Branco, Dean Rittenburg, Daniel Nardiello and Gary Taylor-Fletcher already at the club, but to ensure that goals aren't hard to come by this season, the club have also signed Spanish forward Anderson Cayola and Wrexham striker George Harry.
Last season, Bangor suffered five defeats in the six times that they came up against The New Saints, but in the last fixture it was Bangor who claimed victory with a convincing 3-0 victory over Craig Harrison's side.
It mirrored the performance of Bangor's resurgent performance against their opponents two months back as they lost only 2-1 to The New Saints in the Welsh Cup quarter-final as they suffered heartbreak to a late Adrian Cieslewicz goal.
But with Bangor having the last competitive result over Thew New Saints, it'll be the home side who believe they have the edge going into the season opener.
(Featured Image: EventPhotoWales)