The second phase of the JD Cymru Premier season kicks off this weekend after the league was split in two and for the next 10 games the Top Six teams will compete for a place in Europe, while the Bottom Six clubs will battle to avoid relegation. 

The New Saints are 15 points clear at the summit and are in a promising position to claim their third championship in a row and lift the trophy for the 16th time in their history. 

In second place, Connah’s Quay are 10 points clear of Bala Town in the race for the second automatic spot in Europe. 

The winners of both the JD Welsh Cup and the play-offs will also qualify for Europe, but if the winners of the JD Welsh Cup were to have already secured their place by finishing in the top two places in the league, then the 3rd placed team will reach Europe, as has happened in the last nine seasons. 

The club that finishes highest in the Bottom Six (7th place) will be allowed to compete with the remaining Top Six clubs in the end of season play-offs for the final ticket to Europe, while the bottom two teams will be relegated into the second tier. 




Connah’s Quay (2nd) v Caernarfon Town (6th) | Friday – 19:45 

After finishing last season in 9th place, Caernarfon Town have regained their seat in the Top Six this year and aim to reach Europe for the first time in the club’s history. 

Connah’s Quay have qualified for Europe seven times in the last eight years, and with the Nomads 10 points clear in second place they are expected to reach the goal once again this year. 

But one who will not represent Connah’s Quay in Europe next season is Jordan Davies, as the Nomads’ top scorer has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Greenock Morton of the Scottish Championship in June 2024. 

The 28-year-old striker is joint second on the league’s top scorers list this season with 15 goals and it will be a tough task for Neil Gibson to try and attract a player to fill his boots when he leaves the club at the end of this current campaign.  

The Cofis don’t have a great away record as they have only won one of their last seven on the road, which was against the bottom of the table team, Pontypridd United. 

Connah’s Quay have already beaten Caernarfon Town three times this season scoring 14 goals in the process, and the Nomads are unbeaten in their previous 14 matches against the Canaries (11 wins, three draws). 


League form: 

Caernarfon Town: ➖✅❌❌✅ 

Connah’s Quay: ✅❌✅✅✅ 


Bala Town (3rd) v Cardiff Met (4th) | Saturday – 14:30 

Finishing in 3rd spot has been enough to secure a place in Europe in each of the last nine years, and that will be the target for these two teams this season, with only three points separating the clubs as we begin the second phase. 

Since reaching Europe for the first time in 2013, Bala Town have managed to qualify on eight occasions, but after missing the boat last year, Colin Caton will be keen to clinch one of the four European spots this season. 

Cardiff Met have only qualified for Europe once under their current name, and that was in 2019 after beating Bala Town on penalties at Maes Tegid in the play-off final. 

Cardiff Met are unbeaten in their previous four games against the Lakesiders, conceding only once (two wins, two draws). 

But Bala Town have been on a strong run recently, losing just one of their previous 10 matches (won seven, drawn two), with the only defeat coming at home against Cardiff Met in December. 

And after winning 1-0 at Maes Tegid in December thanks to Eliot Evans’ goal, the Archers have gone on a bad run of four league games without a win (two draws, two defeats). 


League form: 

Bala Town: ✅✅✅❌✅ 

Cardiff Met: ➖❌➖❌✅ 


The New Saints (1st) v Newtown (5th) | Tuesday – 19:45 

Newtown have appointed a new manager following the departure of Chris Hughes, and the new name is a familiar one to The New Saints’ followers. 

Scott Ruscoe is the new boss at Newtown, the 46-year-old who played three season for the Robins between 1997-2000 before making his mark with The New Saints where he was an influential midfielder for 14 seasons between 2002-2016 before he became the club’s manager for almost four years. 

As a player he won the championship on seven occasions with The New Saints, before lifting the trophy twice on the bounce as a manager in 2017/18 and 2018/19. 

Ruscoe was sacked by The New Saints in March 2021 despite his side being top of the table, and he will face his former club in his first game in charge of the Robins. 

The Saints managed to reach the split without losing a single league game this season (20 wins, 2 draws) and the champions have won their last 16 league fixtures. 

The Oswestry outfit have won their last six meetings with the Newtown and Declan McManus has enjoyed those matches, scoring seven goals against the Robins during that run including a lovely lob from distance in the last game before the split. 


League form: 

The New Saints: ✅✅✅✅✅ 

Newtown: ❌❌❌❌✅ 



Aberystwyth Town (10th) v Haverfordwest County (7th) | Friday – 20:00 

Haverfordwest County are leading the charge in the Bottom Six, as they begin the second phase of the season three points clear in 7th place and hoping to replicate their exploits from last year when they finished 7th before going on to win the play-offs to secure their place in Europe. 

There are almost two leagues in the Bottom Six with five points separating Haverfordwest County, Pen-y-bont and Barry Town United in the race for 7th place, and just two points separating Aberystwyth Town, Colwyn Bay and Pontypridd United in the fight to avoid the fall. 

With 10 games remaining, Aberystwyth Town are only one point above the relegation zone, and the Black and Greens are in danger of dropping out of the league for the first time in their history. 

Aberystwyth Town have the worst home record in the league having lost eight of their 11 matches at Park Avenue (drawn two, won one), but Haverfordwest County were one of the three clubs to drop points at Aber during the first half the season (Aber 1-1 Hav). 

 However, Haverfordwest County are on a run of five games without defeat against Aberystwyth Town and the Bluebirds have not lost away from home since October. 


League form: 

Aberystwyth Town: ͏❌✅➖❌❌ 

Haverfordwest County: ͏❌➖✅❌✅ 


Barry Town United (9th) v Pontypridd United (12th) | Saturday – 13:00 

Pontypridd United have appointed former Aberystwyth Town manager Gavin Allen as their new manager following the departure of Andrew Stokes. 

Pontypridd United sit at the bottom of the table after receiving a six-point penalty for breaching league rules but are now just two points below safety with 10 games to play. 

Allen will be expected to strengthen the squad as four of the team’s key players have left during the January window with Corey Shephard, Kurtis Rees, Joe Hunt and Danny Williams all bidding farewell. 

Barry Town United are nine points above the bottom two, which means that they can concentrate on aiming for 7th place to compete for a ticket to Europe. 

Barry Town United won their last two games before the split scoring four goals in both matches and will therefore be eager to restart their season on Saturday. 

The home side were victorious in the two meetings between the clubs in the first phase of the season – Pontypridd United won 1-0 in September before the Dragons got their own back with a 2-0 win at Jenner Park in October. 


League form: 

Barry Town United: ✅✅➖❌❌ 

Pontypridd United: ✅❌✅❌❌ 

Colwyn Bay (11th) v Pen-y-bont (8th) | Saturday – 14:30 

Pen-y-bont are the only one of last season’s Top Six clubs that has failed to reach the top half once again this year. 

Pen-y-bont managed to finish 3rd in the 2022/23 season claiming a place in Europe for the first time in their history, but the team have not reached the same heights this year and are therefore preparing for the second part of the season in the bottom half. 

But the European dream is far from over for Pen-y-bont as they will certainly challenge Haverfordwest County to reach 7th place and the play-offs. 

Colwyn Bay have not had the ideal start to their time in the Welsh top-flight with the Seagulls in danger of falling straight back to the second tier. 

Steve Evans’ side have lost six successive league games with their last league win coming at home against Pen-y-bont in November. 

In fact, Pen-y-bont were the only team to lose their two league games against Colwyn Bay in the first phase of the season, and the Seagulls will be hoping to complete the hat-trick over their opponents on Saturday afternoon. 


League form: 

Colwyn Bay: ❌❌❌❌❌ 

Pen-y-bont: ❌✅✅❌❌ 

The highlights of the games will be available on Sgorio’s social websites, and the best of the weekend’s action can be seen on S4C on Monday evening. 

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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