We run rule over five possible candidates for manager’s job at Cefn Druids

Could Niall McGuinness (right) be a contender to take over at Druids?

Since Bruno Lopes parted company with Cefn Druids two days ago there has been plenty of speculation as to who will take over at The Rock.

Bottom of the Cymru Premier and games running out – the Ancients badly need a saviour.

Grassroots North Wales takes a look at five potential candidates for the permanent post currently occupied on a caretaker basis by head of coaching Jayson Starkey.

Niall McGuinness

A name heard bandied around quite a bit since Bruno Lopes’ departure this week.

McGuinness has Welsh Premier managerial experience with Rhyl and Flint Town United and aged 29 is a young, determined coach still very keen to make a major impact in the top flight.

He is a holder of a UEFA Senior ‘A’ Coaching licence as well as a UEFA ‘A’ Youth Elite Licence.

Was one of the youngest managers in Europe aged just 24 when he took over at former Welsh Premier side Rhyl in February 2016. The Lilywhites were relegated in 2016-17 and McGuinness resigned early in 2017-18.

He bounced back well at Flint, joining in November 2017 and ending his first season by lifting the Huws Gray League Cup.

Followed that up with two consecutive runners up positions in the Cymru Alliance, and last season this proved good enough to earn the club promotion back to the Cymru Premier for the 2020/21 season after a 22-year absence.

After a 6-3 defeat at Barry Town United last December, Flint lay next-to-bottom with stats of three wins and 11 losses and McGuinness left Cae-y-Castell the following day.

Scott Ruscoe/Steve Evans


Scott Ruscoe ((front) Steve Evans (closest left) and Christian Seargeant (closest right). Ruscoe and Evans have now left Park Hall and Seargeant is in temporary charge of first team affairs. Picture: TNS website

Have this pair got anything planned after their shock departure from The New Saints last weekend?

One can imagine they will not be short of offers.

Will their next appointments be as a team, or will they go it alone?

Either would be ideal to take over at The Rock, especially Evans with his local connections, but how would they deal with what is presumably a much tighter budget at Druids than they will have had at full-timers TNS.

Jayson Starkey

Picture: Cefn Druids FC

Was temporarily put in charge of first team affairs after Huw Griffiths’ sudden exit from Druids in January.

Bruno Lopes soon took over on that occasion, but now head of coaching Starkey is in the caretaker role again.

Known to be highly thought of by chairman Des Williams, is it time to give Starkey the reins?

He was assistant-manager to Lopes and is also head of academy at The Rock – so he is very much a Druids man.

Sean Eardley

Picture: Llandudno FC

A long shot, but the sort of person who would normally be associated with any vacant manager’s job at a North Wales club in the Cymru Premier because of past experience.

Previously did well at Caernarfon Town in the top flight, leading them to back-to-back top six finishes on their return to the CPL.

However, Eardley is now back with hometown club Llandudno, where he has also experienced success in the past and is now building a strong squad to tackle the hopefully soon-to-start Cymru North campaign.

Would Eards be prepared to move at this stage? Or does he see a job needing to be done at Maesdu Park as his top priority?

Neville Powell

Picture: Aberystwyth Town FC

His track record is outstanding at Welsh Premier level.

Managed Connah’s Quay Nomads in the League of Wales for 14 seasons before beginning a hugely successful reign as Bangor City manager in 2007.

Powell won three successive Welsh Cups at City and landed the 2010-11 Welsh Premier League title, as well as leading them into six European campaigns.

He also won the NWCFA Challenge Cup and presided over a modern-day British record 15 straight league wins at the start of 2010-11.

Later years at Bangor were not as successful and he left the club in 2016. Had a spell in charge at Aberystwyth Town, guiding them to the 2017-18 Welsh Cup final.

His name and CV alone makes him worthy of another stint at management in the Welsh Premier.

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