Pontardawe Town make the long journey to Cefn Druids in the 4th round of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday as the only team from Tier 3 left in the competition.
JD Welsh Cup
ROUND 4 FIXTURES
Check out the JD Welsh Cup Round 4 fixtures by clicking here
However, manager Andrew Stokes is confident that his side are ready for the challenge of taking on the JD Cymru Premier outfit at the Rock.
“It will be a tough challenge as they’re a good side who were competing in Europe just a couple of years ago,” explained Stokes to FAW.cymru. “We’ve done our homework on them, and it will be interesting to exchange thoughts with their manager, Huw Griffiths, on Saturday. Cefn Druids are a good, well-run club. We’re looking forward to it, and it’s a challenge that we will embrace.”
Druids boss Huw Griffiths recently paid a visit to south Wales to watch Pontardawe Town in Welsh League action, but while the side suffered a slow start to their league campaign, they have recently hit a purple patch ahead of their biggest match of the season so far.
“We have had to rebuild this season by bringing players through from the academy,” Stokes added. “It’s taken longer than we wanted, but we’ve been in really good form lately, and it's justified our belief in sticking to the process and the plans that we had in place.”
We're counting down the days to the #JDWelshCup— Pontardawe Town AFC (@PontardaweTown) January 21, 2020
It is Round 4 on Saturday and we travel North to face @CefnDruids
The boys are in good form following 8 wins out of the last 11 games so can our young squad pull off an upset?#WeArePonty #InYouthWeTrust pic.twitter.com/8uAmNczR7j
Last season, Pontardawe Town were eliminated at the 2nd qualifying round stage of the JD Welsh Cup. However, they have successfully chartered four rounds in the competition already this season, claiming victories over Penydarren BGC, Cwmbran Celtic, Croesyceiliog, and most recently, Buckley Town. But while the reward of reaching the quarter-final is more than enough incentive for Stokes and his players, they also have the added motivation of making amends for the FAW Trophy final defeat to the other team from Cefn last season, as Cefn Albion claimed a 4-0 victory.
“The defeat in the FAW Trophy final last season has had a massive influence on our cup run,” the manager explained. “We didn’t give a good account of ourselves on the day, and we’ve been waiting for a big opportunity to put things right.
"This is that opportunity. We need to put in a performance that we can be proud of. We’re incredibly proud to be the only club from the third tier left in the competition. It’s the reward for all our hard work, and we know we are representing the Welsh League as well as ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Cefn Druids booked their place in the 4th round with a 2-0 win over Guilsfield through goals from Josef Faux and Iwan Cartwright.
The club are steeped in JD Welsh Cup history, and competed in the very first final back in 1877/78, when they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Wrexham. However, they would lift the trophy no less than eight times between 1880 and 1904. Their last appearance in the JD Welsh Cup final was in 2011/12, when they lost 2-0 to The New Saints.