Sandy Malone manages in tier 5 but that does not prevent him looking for talent at a much higher level.
The ambitious boss of Llanelwy Athletic proved this when he signed former Everton Youth, Wales Under-17 and U-19 international and ex-TNS and Flint Town United goalkeeper Aaron Jones back in November.
It was quite an eye-catching transfer at the time and Jones was proving a vital addition for the North Wales Coast East League Division One high-flyers before Denbigh Town of the tier 3 Ardal North West recently signed Jones in the transfer window.
Ex-Denbigh striker Danny Clarke, who had also joined Llanelwy, has too returned to his former club.
However, Malone has pulled another rabbit out of the hat, recruiting Ryan Evans from Bangor City.
The 20-year-old played nine games at Nantporth under ex-City head coach Hugo Colace, at a time when results were going well for the all-blues in the Cymru North and well before they were suspended from football for non-payment of salaries, a situation which remains the status quo.
Evans made his debut for Llanelwy in last weekend’s 2-0 win at Rhyl Dragons. Malone said he had an excellent game, providing an assist and almost scoring himself.
The manager said: “Ryan was a stand-out first team player for Bangor City before he had moved for his scholarship September/October time.
“He played the likes of Airbus, Llandudno, Guilsfield, Holyhead Hotspur, coping exceptionally well and I saw him play on a couple of occasions during that run of games.
“Having spoken with Ryan previously it was great to get him signed last week. Understandable the situation with Bangor is a sad one, but the big man has already shown his capability.
“Right from the off he’s settled in with the current squad of lads who think highly of him.”
The Scot added: “For a tier 5 side, we’re doing well to be able to bring in quality such as Ryan. We lost a few to higher-tiered clubs during this window to the FAW Leagues, obviously that was bound to happen especially if they are early 20’s having played Welsh Prem or tier 2.
“But we’ve reshuffled and brought in strong players. In addition to Ryan we have 1 or 2 more coming in, which I’m really excited about, Unlikely to see both this Saturday away to Llandudno Amateurs, but they will be in to help push towards this league and cup we were aiming to win.”
Llandudno Amateurs currently lead the Division One table on goal difference with 49 points from 23 games. Cerrigydrudion have 49 from 20 and Llanelwy 44 from 17.
And this Saturday will see Llanelwy travel to Amateurs – Malone’s former club – for a crunch clash at the OPS Wind Arena.
Llandudno are the only side to beat Athletic in the league this season, winning 2-1 at Gronant back in October.
Malone added: “At this point, to have good points on the board with so many games in hand, it’s giving us time to prepare for these next 10 weeks of games.”