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Pre-season chat: Gareth Thomas (CPD Y Rhyl 1879)

Gareth Thomas (left) and the CPD Y Rhyl 1879 badge. Pictures/illustrations by kind courtesy of CPD Y Rhyl 1879

Gareth Thomas is the first manager of newly-formed CPD Y Rhyl 1879.

The phoenix club, born following the sad demise of Rhyl FC last season, will play in the tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier Division in 2020-21.

Thomas is the ideal man to lead the new Lilywhites, having formerly managed at a high level with Halkyn United, Mynydd Isa, Buckley Town, FC Nomads, Denbigh Town and Conwy Borough, where he landed the Welsh Alliance League, FAW Trophy and Cookson Cup treble in 2017-18.

Grassroots North Wales asked the man affectionately known as Perry how things are shaping up at Belle Vue this summer.

Grassroots North Wales

Overall, what shape are you in as a first team and club ahead of the 2020-21 season?

Gareth Thomas

The club is in good shape with plenty of hard work gone on in the last few months and everyone pulling in the same direction.

Everyone is trying to stay positive but when you see the hard work being put in by the volunteers it must be frustrating with no end in sight of starting to play.

Grassroots North Wales

Latest signing former Rhyl FC, Bangor City and Chester City midfielder Mike Walsh

You’ve made a few signings, tell us about one or two of your players to look out for this season

Gareth Thomas

The playing front is good. We were lucky that the majority of players we went for committed early and that has allowed us to crack on with training and the lads are eager to get back playing.

As for the players to look out for I’m looking forward to seeing some of the young lads getting the chance to play regular football without putting too much pressure by naming them.

Grassroots North Wales

Who do you see as the strongest teams in your division?

Gareth Thomas

I’m sure with the amount of derbies there will be a few tasty games but also think it’s too early to pick out any of the teams as rivals as until all the clubs get start dates I can see more and more players finding other things to do on a weekend. The start date is vital I feel for everyone

Grassroots North Wales

How difficult has it been to keep your squad motivated during the Covid-19 crisis? What challenges have you had to overcome?

Gareth Thomas

The Covid period has been a challenge for everyone.

The lads have adapted to the protocols in the phases but all just want to get back to playing now, we all have a responsibility with the virus, but having played cricket during the summer and seen how clubs adapted I can’t see what logic is behind the thinking.

Grassroots North Wales

What are your ambitions for the season ahead?

Gareth Thomas

The ambition of the club is obviously to start rising through the pyramid system as quickly as possible but others will have the same ambition so we have to worry about ourselves and respect the other teams In the league – but first and foremost concentrate on ourselves.

CPD Y Rhyl 1879 summer signings (18)

Reece Fairhurst
Dan Sim (from Greenfield)
Owen Hallmark (from Connah’s Quay Nomads)
Jordan Manley (from Connah’s Quay Nomads)
Miles Todd (from Llannefydd)
Elliot Evans (from Mold Alex)
Jay Whitehouse (from Rhuddlan Town)
Ryan Roberts
Matty Beach (from Rhuddlan Town)
Ollie Staveley
Jack Parry-Jones
Carl Lamb
Tyler Joyce
Dan Lloyd (from Denbigh Town)
Tony Davies
Eamon Buhalfaia (from Heygarth)
Chris Bennett (from Denbigh Town)
Mike Walsh

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