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Pre-season chat: Dewi Llion (manager – Denbigh Town)

Dewi Llion is the manager of Denbigh Town (all pictures Steve Whitfield)

Denbigh Town will be expected to perform well in the tier 3 Ardal North West League this season.

Runners-up in Welsh Alliance Division One last season, Town have added a number of quality players to the squad for the campaign ahead.

Grassroots North Wales caught up with manager Dewi Llion for a chat about how things are developing at Central Park.

Grassroots North Wales

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

Dewi Llion

Dewi Llion (centre) with Brett Jones (left) and Owain Roberts

Like many teams, there have been a few comings and goings, but I am really happy with how the team is looking.

We’ve also brought in two new coaches in Brett Jones and Pete ‘Bins’ Lloyd, who will both work alongside Owain Roberts and I.

The Reserves and Development squad have also strengthened, with the majority of Kevin Roberts U-16’s last season signing on, which is extremely pleasing to see.

As a club, I want to create a youth system and a club which is a conveyor belt of good young local talent.

But, there is a lot more to it than just affecting the youth set-up, we are also putting plans in place where the senior sides have to accommodate these players coming through otherwise there is no point in having a youth set-up. There is a real buzz around the club at the minute.

Behind the scenes, the club has been working extremely hard to make sure all COVID regulations have been met. None more so than our club secretary Steve Whitfield, who has worked tirelessly over the past few weeks.

Grassroots North Wales

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

Dewi Llion

Sam Jones is a quality addition to the Denbigh Town squad

Mike Sharples has signed from Porthmadog, and will play an important part in our back four.

Sam Jones and Keiron Roberts have both signed from Greenfield. Sam is a big powerful pacey striker, while Keiron is a midfielder who will sit in front of the back four mopping everything up.

Joe Edwards has signed from Bala Town, a real energetic midfielder.

I’d also consider Kristian Pierce a new signing having spent all of last season out with a bad knee injury.

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?

Dewi Llion

I’ve really enjoyed the challenge over the past few months.

I think I’ve learnt a lot more about the players than I would have during the normal season, as they’ve been asked to do their own training at home, and it’s almost made my job easier as a manager.

You instantly figure out who’s doing enough to justify their place in the squad.

In terms of keeping the players motivated, having kept the majority of the squad from last season, there was already a real competitive nature in the squad with the runs they were doing on Strava.

Now with the players we’ve added during the off season, they have really started pushing themselves to be better than one another.

Being totally honest, the players have taken it upon themselves to set the standards and keep themselves motivated.

It helps when you have a captain like Mark Roberts, and the more senior lads in Paul Fleming, Mike Sharples and Joe Griffiths setting such a good example to the rest of the team.

Grassroots North Wales

What are your ambitions for the season ahead?

Dewi Llion

To hopefully get the season up and running once it’s safe to do so. Once it’s up and running, the aim will be to win the league.

Denbigh Town – last 30 years
(Cymru Alliance – 14 seasons; Welsh Alliance – 12; Clwyd League – 5)

1989-90: Clwyd League Division One – 10th of 11
1990-91: Clwlyd League Division One – 7th of 11
1991-92: Clwyd League Division One – 3rd of 11
1992-93: Clwyd League Premier Division – 4th of 13
1993-94: Clwyd League Premier Division – 2nd of 12
1994-95: Welsh Alliance League – 4th of 18
1995-96: Welsh Alliance League – 1st of 15
1996-97: Cymru Alliance – 11th of 18
1997-98: Cymru Alliance – 7th of 19
1998-99: Cymru Alliance – 12th of 16
1999-2000: Cymru Alliance – 15th of 17
2000-01: Cymru Alliance – 15th of 17
2001-02: Cymru Alliance – 18th of 18
2002-03: Welsh Alliance – 3rd of 15
2003-04: Welsh Alliance – 12th of 16
2004-05: Welsh Alliance – 8th of 16
2005-06: Welsh Alliance – 2nd of 16
2006-07: Welsh Alliance – 1st of 15
2007-08: Cymru Alliance – 8th of 17
2008-09: Cymru Alliance – 12th of 17
2009-10: Cymru Alliance – 10th of 17
2010-11: Welsh Alliance – 4th of 16
2011-12: Welsh Alliance – 7th of 16
2012-13: Welsh Alliance – 2nd of 15
2013-14: Welsh Alliance – 1st of 15
2014-15: Cymru Alliance – 7th of 16
2015-16: Cymru Alliance – 3rd of 16
2016-17: Cymru Alliance – 10th of 16
2017-18: Cymru Alliance – 2nd of 15
2018-19: Cymru Alliance – 15th of 16
2019-20: Welsh Alliance – 2nd of 16

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