Colwyn Bay FC manager Craig Hogg says he is excited about the Seagulls return to Welsh football after 35 years in England, and has put together a squad made up of huge experience as well as youthful talent ahead of their forthcoming campaign in the FAW Championship North, reports Tim Channon.
His signings include Old Colwyn-based former Wrexham and Wales Under-21 international defender Mike Williams, whose brother Marc played for the Bay in the Conference North between 2013 and 2015, and ex-Bangor City stalwart Sion Edwards from Porthmadog, along with the likes of 18-year-old midfield prospect Morgan Owen from Glan Conwy who is seen as a young player with big potential.
“Mike Williams possesses a great mix of Football League, Welsh pyramid and European football experience and those are qualities that will be very important for us going into the new campaign,” says Hogg.
“Sion Edwards ticks so many boxes for us. He has won pretty much everything you can in Wales with about a dozen European appearances on his CV and his experience will also benefit our group of players for sure.”
With Neil Coverley joining the board as Director of Football, Hogg has brought in locally-based Mark Orme as his new assistant manager, with both of them having successfully completed their UEFA A Licence coaching badges in the last month.
Former Aston Villa and Welsh youth international keeper Mike Price arrives as goalkeeping coach to assist glovesmen Andy Coughlin and Paddy Rutter, who have both agreed terms to stay at the club.
Other new player signings include locally-based striker Joe Chaplin from Airbus UK, the experienced Mitch Bryant from Runcorn Linnets and Matty Russell from Glossop North End, while Julian Williams from Porthmadog and Damien Ketley, who played for Prestatyn in the Welsh Premier League, both return for second spells at the club.
Skipper Tom McCready and defenders Will Bell, Daz Thornton and Rhyl-based Alex Downes are staying from last season’s squad.
“It will be interesting to see how everyone gels together during the six week pre-season programme we have and I know everyone is really looking forward to reporting back on June 22nd,” said Hogg.
Eirias Park will be the club’s new training base and the manager added: “The facilities at Eirias are excellent and I’m really looking forward to getting down to work with the backroom staff and players.
“I think everyone I’ve spoken to recently within North Wales football circles is really looking forward to next season and I’d go as far as saying that even at this stage, Tier 2 North could potentially be the most competitive it has been in a generation.
“We are stepping into the unknown as we start our five-year project and we will have a great deal to learn, especially as this will be our maiden season back in Welsh football, but we are excited to now be part of the North Wales football scene and fully intend to embrace it.”