“WE CAN LIFT THE CUP,” SAYS JONES

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Cambrian News photographer - Assistant boss Wayne Jones celebrates winning the semi-final

ABERYSTWYTH Town are looking to lift the Welsh Cup for the first time in the modern era when they take on Connah’s Quay in the showpiece final at Newtown’s Latham Park on Sunday (2.45pm).

The Cambrian News reported “It is the Seasiders’ third final in 10 years, but after defeats to Neville Powell’s Bangor City at Llanelli in 2009 and The New Saints at Wrexham in 2014, they are hoping it will be third time lucky for Aber.

“We’re prepared,” said assistant manager Wayne Jones. “We know we are going to be underdogs, we are fully aware of that, but the most important thing is that we go there and enjoy the occasion.

“What will be will be, but we’ll prepare well and do things right, and then it’s all on the day. We beat them 4-2 last time we played them, so it is winnable for us. If we turn up on the day, we’ll be okay.”

Having already seen off holders Bala Town, Cardiff Met, Carmarthen and Newtown, Jones says there is no reason why Aberystwyth cannot end their 118 year wait for Welsh Cup glory.

The Seasiders will carry the momentum of a four-match unbeaten league run into the final, having finished their league campaign in ninth place – and having beaten Connah’s Quay back in January.

The third-placed Nomads, however, will provide stern opposition as they look to bounce back from last week’s disappointment at missing out on runners-up spot.

Connah’s Quay have never won the Welsh Cup, having lost in their only post-war final in 1998 to Bangor City on penalties – when Aber’s director of football Neville Powell was their manager.

This season Connah’s Quay have defeated Cwmbran Celtic, Porthmadog, and notably Welsh Premier Champions The New Saints, and runners-up Bangor City on route to reaching the 2018 final.

“They’re a great team, they are full of experience and very physical, and they are where they are in the league table because they are a good team,” commented Jones.

“We are mindful of that, but I think that after the transition we’ve had this season, we are bearing fruit at little bit, and the players are gelling well together.

“It’s all about how well we play our game, and what we want to do, and I’m sure they’ll be concentrating on themselves as well.”

Aber will be looking to lift the prestigious trophy for the first time since they last won it way back in 1900 – and that final against Cefn Druids was also held in Newtown.

A bumper crowd is set to make the journey east to support the Seasiders this Bank Holiday weekend, and the management say they could be their ‘12th man,’ just as they were in the semi-final tie.

“We’re looking at about 600 to 700 supporters travelling, and to be fair, even in the semi-final we had immense support,” said Jones.

“The Club needs and deserves some silverware, and the chance of possibly playing in Europe again.”

Remarkably, it is the seventh Welsh Cup final Aber’s director of football Powell has been involved in, having steered Bangor to no less than five finals, and a hat-trick of wins between 2008 and 2010.

It is exactly 20 years since Powell reached his first final with Connah’s Quay – and 10 years since he first won the trophy with Bangor.

Bangor City’s shock relegation last week, after failing to gain a domestic licence, means that Connah’s Quay are already guaranteed a place in European competition through their league position.

Should Aber triumph on Sunday, the Seasiders would qualify for the Europa League, and Connah’s Quay would also qualify by virtue of being third in the table.

An Aber defeat, however, would mean missing out on a lucrative fourth appearance in Europe – and 215,000 Euros for reaching the Europa League qualifying stage – with fourth-placed Bala gaining automatic qualification instead” here.

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