NEATH will bid to extend their 13-match unbeaten run in the Welsh Premier tomorrow when they go to leaders and reigning champions Bangor City.
It could well be an unlucky 13 for Kristian O’Leary’s men though as the Citizens were the last team to beat them in the league and currently hold a seven-point advantage over Neath, who sit third in the table.
O’Leary will know that his side must win if they stand any chance of lifting the title come the end of the season. The match is also the first between the teams at Bangor’s new Nantporth Stadium – the hosts’ 2-1 victory in October came at Farrar Road.
“It’s another big challenge for us,” said the Neath boss. “Every game has got something riding on it which is great to keep interest alive.
“Our home form has been good all season but we have improved on the road as the season has gone on and we need to keep up the momentum.”
Neath’s confidence was boosted on Tuesday as they saw off Llanelli 4-2 to go through to the semi-finals of the League Cup. “It was a good win and a very good performance and it’s nice to be in the semi-final after the disappointment of losing in the Welsh Cup last week,” added O’Leary.
Defender Ian Hillier, sent off in that success against Llanelli, is the only absentee as the Eagles look to extend their run to 14 matches without defeat.
Meanwhile, Llanelli boss Andy Legg has made it clear he still has the drive to remain in charge at Stebonheath Park.
The Reds have lost their last four in the league and were dumped out of two cup competitions this week, by Bala Town in the Welsh Cup last Saturday and Neath in the League Cup in midweek.
Prestatyn Town stand in Llanelli’s way tomorrow and Legg sees no reason why his club can’t get a run going and finish the campaign in a much better place.
“Bastion Gardens is a difficult place to get a result but hopefully we can gain three points,” he said. “People have written us off, but we have strung a run of good results together in the past and we can do it again.
“We need to dig in and stick together as we are not a million miles away, although I admit we have gone off the boil recently."
Chris Thomas is suspended and injuries to Jason Bowen and Ashley Evans mean they will have late fitness tests.
Port Talbot Town will be missing David Brooks for their clash with Newtown after he was red-carded in the goalless draw against Afan Lido on Tuesday night, a result that saw Mark Jones’s charges knocked out of the League Cup.
Afan Lido have the opportunity to move to the top of the Conference when they host Carmarthen Town tonight (Friday). Victory at the Marston's Stadium would lift them into seventh place and give boss Andy Dyer even more to smile about.
“It’s fantastic to be where we are,” he said. “All the hard work we have put in is reward for the players and all connected with the club.
“We could have gone top on three or four previous occasions but never made it, so let’s hope we can get there this time. We will have to be on top of our game if we are going to get three points as Carmarthen are much-improved since their new management team took over.
“They are playing with increased confidence but we are at home and that is where we have been at our best this season. We are difficult to beat on our patch.
“This is a massive game for the two clubs but we will have to see if we have enough left in our locker, although I have rested a few players for the League Cup.”
Lido are without suspended defender Anthony Finselbach, Carl Payne is unavailable and Mark Jones is doubtful with a shoulder injury.
In the weekend’s remaining fixtures, The New Saints take on Bala Town tonight and Aberystwyth Town go to Airbus UK on Sunday.