Barry boss ready for TNS test
Barry Town United boss Gavin Chesterfield says his side have no intention of making up the numbers when they take on Welsh Premier League leaders The New Saints in this Saturday’s Nathaniel MG Cup Final.
Chesterfield’s side will travel to Cardiff knowing that the odds are firmly stacked against them, although they remain in the hunt for promotion from Welsh League Division One after a 3-1 win over Monmouth Town last weekend extended their unbeaten run to six games.
TNS may have seen their record-breaking run of 27 straight wins ended by a 3-3 draw at Newtown, but few are expecting Barry to stop Craig Harrison’s charges from retaining the trophy for a third consecutive season.
However, Chesterfield says the positives from his team’s 5-2 defeat to the Saints in the fourth round of last year’s Welsh FA Cup shows they are capable of putting in a competitive performance, in what is their first cup final for 13 years.
“I don’t think many people are giving us a chance,” Chesterfield told Clwb Pel-Droed. “We must be humble and must accept that it’s going to be a very difficult game for us.
“But we played them in the cup last season and gave a good account of ourselves for around 60 minutes of that game. I definitely feel we’re a stronger side this year, and when you represent a club like Barry you expect to be competitive.
“I just feel that if the players play to their potential and TNS have an off day then in a cup final anything can happen.”
“Reaching the cup final was probably against all odds in the first place. We’ve had to beat two Premier League teams in the process, so that gives us confidence. It’s quite a romantic story that a lot of the lads that will take to the field on Saturday are the very same lads that dropped down to Division Three with us.
“So in the last two or three seasons, these guys have been used to winning football matches.
“It’s not in my nature to say that we’re going to go there and have a good day out. We’re there to compete.”
Promotion to the Premier League remains the primary ambition at Jenner Park, although there is little doubting that a win on Saturday would be one of the standout highlights in their rich history.
But Chesterfield is hopeful that Barry will one day be challenging TNS for honours at the top of the pyramid again, although he is adamant that the rise of the Owestry-based outfit has been a boost to Welsh football.
“I think TNS have been fantastic for the league. They’re the flagbearers for the Welsh domestic game and they should be congratulated for everything they’ve achieved.
“It’s up to us and indeed all other clubs to raise our game to compete with them.”
Victory on Saturday would be a pretty good start.