Ambitious Colwyn Bay returned to the Welsh domestic game in 2019 and the club from the JD Cymru North are determined to show their promotion credentials when they take on Cardiff Met on Saturday in the 4th round of the JD Welsh Cup (12.45pm).
Live on TV
JD WELSH CUP ROUND 4
Colwyn Bay vs Cardiff Met
- Sgorio on S4C from 12:30pm
- Kick off 12:45pm
“I think it has proved to be the right decision,” explained manager Craig Hogg to FAW.cymru this week when asked about the club making the switch from the English pyramid system. “Whenever there's change there's always resistance to change or fear of change, and that was the initial feeling with certain sections of the club's supporters. You only have to look at the commercial and community activities that the club is now engaged in, and the support that we are getting is extremely positive. The club is moving in the right direction, but now we have to capitalise on that and take this club as far as we can.”
Over 1,000 fans were in attendance at Colwyn Bay for the league match against Llandudno earlier this month, and the club will also welcome a live television audience for the first time in their history on Saturday as the Sgorio cameras make their first visit to Llanelian Road. “The experience of Saturday is something that will benefit everyone connected to the football club,” Hogg added. “It will be a new experience for many of the players and the people involved in the running of Colwyn Bay for sure. But we would like the occasion of Saturday to be the norm for Colwyn Bay. That is the long-term objective.”
Currently sitting sixth in the JD Cymru North, a long injury list has been detrimental to their campaign, but Hogg was full of praise for the way his team continue to perform against adversity. “I'm genuinely pleased with the performances,” he explained. “We've been decimated with injuries since the last week of pre-season, but the players who have played have performed well. Unfortunately, those performances haven't translated into the results that we would have wanted to achieve, but it's a process and a journey. With every process there are challenges and obstacles to overcome, and we will continue to do that.”
A 2-1 win away to Gresford and a convincing 5-1 win over Ruthin Town booked Colwyn Bay's place in the 4th round of the JD Welsh Cup, the same stage that they were eliminated in on their return to the competition in 2019/20. “The Welsh Cup is a competition we love,” said Hogg, who took over as manager of the club in September 2018. “It will be difficult, Cardiff Met and Christian Edwards are a club and a manager that I have a lot of respect for. I think they've shown what can be achieved given time and that's something we want to emulate as a football club. We know they're a good side with a lot of very good players and an experienced management team as well, so it's going to be a very big challenge for us.”
Cardiff Met defeated Pontardawe Town and JD Cymru Premier rivals Barry Town United to reach this stage of the competition, and they can expect a tough challenge in front of a large crowd on Saturday. “The support has been massive,” Hogg explained. “We were averaging around 600 in our first season back in the Welsh domestic game and attendances are up again this season. It just shows that there is a real appetite for the game here. Colwyn Bay is a big football club, we're all very fortunate to play and work here, and that's vindicated by the unbelievable support that we get from people in the town who come out to support us in their droves.”
Colwyn Bay have reached the semi-finals of the JD Welsh Cup on three previous occasions in 1929/30, 1982/83 and 1991/92 without ever reaching the final. Meanwhile, Hogg was part of John Hulse's successful Rhyl side that lifted the trophy in 2003/04, but he was cup tied having joined the club in mid-season from Caernarfon Town. “The Welsh Cup is such a special competition,” Hogg added. “There's a certain romance towards it and it's a competition we want to do well in. If we can apply ourselves in the right way on Saturday, contain our opponents and impose our game on them, then we can overcome the odds and create some more happy memories for ourselves.”
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