NEVILLE Powell is looking for his side to maintain their good home form when they welcome Prestatyn Town to Park Avenue for a crucial match under the floodlights on Friday night (ko 8pm).
The Cambrian News reported “Aber had bounced back to winning ways with an excellent 3-1 win over Llandudno last week, to move 10 points clear of bottom-placed Prestatyn, and they are hoping to maintain their momentum in front of their home supporters.
Gareth Wilson’s side are on a dismal run of 10 consecutive defeats, which included a 7-1 thrashing at Aberystwyth in December, but Powell has warned that his side will need to be fully focused.
“It wont be easy, Prestatyn are a good side and pass the ball well, and have experienced players,” said Powell, who has been shortlisted for the Manager of the Month award for Janaury.
“We are not under any illusions, we’re in a dog-fight, and the sooner we get safe the better, and then we can see where our results take us.
“It’s another huge game on Friday, and the players are aware of that.
“If they continue to work as hard as they have been, and keep moving the ball like they are, we’ve got to fancy ourselves to get another home win.
“But the players have got to keep the levels up, first and foremost.”
Second-from-bottom Carmarthen, who sacked manager Mark Aizelwood following his conviction on a charge of fraud last week, kept the pressure on Aber, with their third successive league win last weekend.
Aber remain seven points clear of the Old Gold, however, and a win on Friday could move Powell’s men to within two points of Newtown or Barry in the race for a play-off place.
Powell will take heart from the fact that his side has won six games from their last eight matches at home, and he is hoping that form can continue.
“We’ve made this place a bit of a fortress, our home form is really good, we are scoring goals and passing the ball really well,” said Powell.
“It was a huge win against Llandudno, we expected a tough game against a good side, but I thought that in the first half we were excellent.
“We squeezed them and won every second ball and scored the two goals.
“We let in an easy goal at the start of the second half, and a lot of teams would have folded, but to be fair, with Ashley Young marshalling the defence, the team was outstanding.
“We could have got a couple more goals to fair, but we were very glad to see that third goal go in at the end.”
With Young moving to central defence, as Malcolm Melvin came in to replace January signing Craig Rogers, Aber showed their strength in depth.
Rogers will offer cover this week, with Matthew Jones having sustained a shoulder injury, whilst Craig Hobson has also staked his claim for starting place by scoring the crucial third goal after coming on as a substitute.
Geoff Kellaway, Luke Borrelli and Jack Rimmer also provide options, but manager Powell was encouraged by several good individual performances.
“Everyone worked their socks off in a tough game, including the midfield three of Malcolm Melvin, Tom Owens and Damien Allen,” he said.
“In the first half, John Owen was unplayable, and we had players around him as well, and that’s the standard that we really want to be playing at.
“With the problems that we’ve had in central defence in the last couple of weeks, Ashley Young has gone in there, and hasn’t put a foot wrong.
“We had to withstand some good play by Llandudno in the second half to make sure we got over the line for the three points, but Craig Hobson came on and held the ball up well, and he got the goal he deserved.”
Powell has been shortlisted for the JD Welsh Premier League Manager of the Month award for January.
He is joined on the four-man shortlist by Cefn Druids’ boss Huw Griffiths, The New Saints’ Scott Ruscoe and Chris Hughes of Newtown.
• On Sunday, Bari Morgan’s Under-19s side were beaten 7-0 against a strong Cardiff City side in their FAW Youth Cup quarter-final at the Cardiff International Sports Campus.
Four goals from Sion Spence, two from Sam Bowen and one from Harry Pinchard saw the Bluebirds through.
“It was a big learning curve for all of us involved with the Under 19s today,” said Morgan. “But we learnt a lot, which will only help aid our development as players and coaches” here.