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Pre-season chat: Wayne Hughes (Rhuddlan Town)

Last season’s Rhuddlan Town squad which won the final Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division title. Manager Wayne Hughes is furthest left on the back row. Picture: Steve Bowden

After last season’s Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division title-winning heroics not much has gone right since for Rhuddlan Town or their manager Wayne Hughes.

As well as the coronavirus crisis delaying the start to the 2020-21 season, Hughes has also lost a number of last season’s championship squad to other clubs.

But Wayne is determined to build another strong Rhuddlan team capable of competing in the tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier Division.

The Town manager talks about his hopes with Grassroots North Wales.

Grassroots North Wales

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

Wayne Hughes

The squad is looking good even though we have lost the following players: Jay Whitehouse, Mathew Beach and Matty Roberts (all to CPD Y Rhyl 1879), Chris Lowe (Prestatyn Sports) and Zak Hughes (Y Glannau)

I’m really pleased with what I have left. We have only added two new players to the squad in Jacob Parry and Ryan Potts but both players will add some steel and quality in defence and attack.

Ryan Potts

We have had a few interested in joining the club but we are only going to add players who will make a difference.

No point having 25+ players if some aren’t up to the standard that we will be playing against.

It’s always going to be difficult to add players with so many local teams next to each other like St Asaph/Res, Llanelwy Athletic, Meliden, Prestatyn Town, Prestatyn Sports/Res ,Rhyl, Rhyl All Stars, Rhyl Dragons, NFA, Kinmel Bay/Res.

So many teams are looking to boost their squads but I’m really happy with the squad we have.

Grassroots North Wales

Can you tell us about one or two players to look out for this season?

Wayne Hughes

I’ve been watching Ryan Potts in training and he has an unbelievable first touch and a powerful shot.

Ethan Taylor, who has lost so much weight and has been working really hard in training, looks in real good shape.

Jordan Bellham has been training hard and starting to look like the Bellham I first met.

Jordan Bellham (No 11)

Ian Davenport has worked above and beyond on his fitness – couldn’t run a mile maybe 3 months ago but now is doing nine-mile runs so massive credit to him and all the lads.

Grassroots North Wales

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

Wayne Hughes

I have no doubt in my mind that Rhyl 1879 will be the team to beat.

With the quality they have signed they will definitely take some stopping, also Llandyrnog have made some eye-catching signings so they could be dark horses.

Plenty of quality in this league and myself and the players are looking forward to playing some fantastic teams and showing them we are not in there just to make the numbers up.

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?

Wayne Hughes

I just can’t wait to get going now.

I’ve had a few moments during the break and had time to think if I wanted to continue managing the club as I’ve enjoyed spending so much time with the family and I’ve been working weekends as well so started to ask myself what I wanted to do.

Just seeing the lads on the training pitch and working hard to get ready for the season made me realise how much they love the club and just how committed they are.

Makes it worth giving it another season in charge.

I’m sure everyone has questioned themselves during this time and having no information or guidance hasn’t helped anyone really, just made the whole matter worse.

Hopefully we will all be back playing the game we love sooner rather than later.

Grassroots North Wales

Rhuddlan celebrate a goal last season against Llanfairfechan

What are your ambitions for the season ahead? How do you feel you will perform?

Wayne Hughes

With the squad we have I’m expecting us to be very competitive.

I think we have the fitness levels and abilities to challenge for a top half finish and produce a good cup run.

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