IT will not be long before Llandudno Junction know where they stand in the Huws Gray Alliance this season.
The Railwaymen took their place in the second tier following Glantraeth’s refusal to go up a division, and Iain Bennett’s side have been handed an incredibly tough that could see them up against it from the outset if they do not adjust to life quickly.
They start with a daunting trip to big spending Airbus Broughton, who have assembled a high-quality squad full of Welsh Premier League experience, and the Wingmakers will be looking to make an early statement in their opening home fixture.
If Junction were looking for a reprieve then they may not find it for quite some time, with fancied sides Porthmadog, Holyhead Hotspur, Caersws and Denbigh Town all to come in their first five fixtures, and if they do not hit the ground running then
One positive for Bennett’s men is that they have brought in a number of key components with proven HGA experience, which will be a huge asset during what will undoubtedly be a tough slog to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
Striker Dean Seager is a proven goal scorer at this level and he will be relied upon heavily throughout the term, while former Caernarfon Town goalkeeper Keighan Jones will have to be at his consistent best to maximise his side’s chances of making an impact.
Mainstay James Hobson is another that could thrive operating in the second tier, and in midfielder Joe Morgan they have a calming presence in the middle of the park that is rarely wasteful with the ball at his feet.
The exciting pair of Merrick Knight and Conner Tierney have the potential to cause defences problems on any given day, and big things will also be expected of the highly touted James Lansdowne.
After failing to reach the ground criteria for promotion in 2016, it would have been remiss of the club not to at least try and test their skills in what looks to be an ultra-competitive Huws Gray Alliance, and it is going to take a huge effort from everyone associated with the club to secure their status next time around.
Bennett has done a fantastic job of putting the foundations in place, and he will be hoping that is enough to cause a few surprises against the elite clubs with bigger budgets and lofty goals.