PRESTATYN Town are set to return to the Dafabet Welsh Premier League after two seasons in the second tier.
Pending a successful domestic licence application, the Seasiders will re-join Wales’ elite after a memorable campaign in the Huws Gray Alliance, with Neil Gibson’s side finally sealing the title last Saturday with a 1-0 win over Gresford Athletic.
Dean Jones examines the questions surrounding the newly crowned championships ahead of their return to the big time:
The future of Jordan Davies
League top scorer Davies has been arguably the top performer outside of the WPL this season, scoring no fewer than 27 league goals, which have been the catalyst behind Town’s success.
His stellar play has attracted the attention of some of the country’s top sides, with rumours swirling surrounding a possible move to high-flying Gap Connah’s Quay.
Nomads boss Andy Morrison was in attendance to run the rule over the talented forward in their only defeat of the season to Denbigh Town, after being impressed with Davies during their JD Welsh Cup clash the previous week.
Keeping the prolific youngster at the Motion Finance Stadium will be imperative to their fortunes in the top flight next season, but Morrison is not afraid to splash the cash having spent five figure sums on Les Davies and Wes Baynes from Bangor City and Colwyn Bay respectively.
The club may find it hard to turn down a similar offer and would be significantly worse off as a result.
Can David Hayes still be a factor?
The long-serving club captain made an encouraging return from injury in the Huws Gray Cup clash with Flint Town United after months out with a lingering foot problem.
Despite this, the question remains whether or not Hayes can remain fit for a consistent period to be able to play a key role in the WPL next term.
The centre half has achieved legendary status at the Seasiders but with the emergence of defenders such as Reece Fairhurst and Tony Kemp, Hayes has not been missed during their incredible run of form as he would have been in previous years.
There is no doubt that the 35-year-old is still a fantastic talent when healthy, and it will be up to Gibson and his team of staff to ensure that his minutes are managed in preseason and throughout the campaign to ensure that they get the most out of Hayes.
His experience of playing amongst the elite will be vital for the young Town squad next season if they want to re-establish themselves, and the vocal leader now has a point to prove following a frustrating campaign on the sidelines.
Stick or twist?
It is normally the custom for newly promoted sides to significantly strengthen their squad as they test their skills against higher quality opposition, but Gibson may feel there is enough in his team that he doesn’t need to delve into the market.
There is plenty of evidence to support this claim: Whether it be their scintillating league form or the encouraging displays they have put in against WPL big spenders Bangor City and Gap Connah’s Quay, where they were narrowly beaten in extra time by both after pushing them to the limit in cup competitions.
The club has gambled on spending big on their squad in the past following their Welsh Cup win, something which brought them on the brink of extinction earlier this season, so chairman Chris Tipping will no doubt manage the financial side far better than the previous regime, something he has done to his credit since arriving at the club.
With young stars such as Ben Maher, James Stead and Noah Edwards, together with the experienced Michael Parker and Jack Kenny, the foundations are already in place for the Seasiders to hold their own in the WPL should they be granted a license for promotion.