CAERNARFON Town have wasted no time in laying down a marker to their Huws Gray Alliance rivals as they look to regain their crown.
The Canaries were dethroned by Prestatyn Town in the bid for a return to the Welsh Premier League, and manager Iwan Williams has made two key acquisitions to ensure that the same problems do not arise when the season kicks off in a few short weeks.
Despite finishing second there was a sense of optimism at the end of the campaign, with the Cofis retaining the Huws Gray Cup and finally obtaining their FAW Domestic license, which prevented them from going up as champions last year.
Energetic midfielder Gareth Evans was a signing that raised eyebrows when he recently signed from WPL outfit from Llandudno, and the former Colwyn Bay man brings with him plenty of big game experience which will be a huge asset to the Town squad in what is expected to be a hotly contested race for second tier bragging rights.
This week the club also revealed that Holyhead Hotspur skipper Rhys Roberts has also arrived at The Oval, and the physical defender is a real presence in the air which will aid club stalwart Gareth Edwards, who has long established himself as one of the top enforcers in the division.
Perhaps the most significant arrival thus far is Sean Eardley, who will join Williams’ backroom staff after deciding to leave Llandudno for a fresh challenge.
He is a highly-respected coach and he was instrumental in Alan Morgan’s side not only securing promotion, but also establishing themselves as a formidable top flight squad that achieved Europa League qualification in their first season.
Eardley’s know-how will be a huge asset to the Town dugout, with Williams himself still making his way in the game after a pair of trophy-laden campaigns in management.
It is clear that the current squad believe in the boss, which is evident when you see just how many of them have committed their futures despite interest from some high-profile sides.
Striker Jamie Breese finished as the club’s top scorer once again and resisted overtures from a number of WPL sides to return for a third year, while former Wales U21 star Nathan Craig is another who has turned down a shot at the big time to ensure the Cofis reached the promised land.
The HGA is going to be an unforgiving league next term with the likes of Rhyl, Airbus UK Broughton, Porthmadog and Flint Town United all vying for promotion along with a host of other clubs, so it is imperative that the Canaries find their form early and avoid the poor start that cost them the title last season.
One thing is for sure, Williams has made a huge statement of intent in the early stages of the summer, and it is now up to the other teams to follow suit in what is sure to be a fascinating campaign from start-to-finish.