PRESTATYN Town are now just a few short weeks away from making their triumphant return to the top flight of Welsh football.
Neil Gibson’s side were runaway winners of the Huws Gray Alliance last term after a season that also saw them take a number of Welsh Premier League scalps in a memorable JD Welsh Cup run.
Things promise to be far more difficult this term against the WPL elite, with many clubs investing heavily in their squads in the hope of finally wrestling the title from the all-conquering New Saints.
Reporter Dean Jones examines five key figures in the Seasiders’ squad that are set to play a significant role if the club look to re-establish themselves in the top tier.
While the transfer activity at the Motion Finance Stadium has been thin on the ground as Gibson looks to keep continuity, and give his championship squad a chance to make a name for themselves, the club have brought in talented striker Edwards to bolster their attacking options following the departure of Jordan Davies.
There is no doubt that Davies’ departure has left a huge void that will need to be filled, but Edwards has made a positive start to his Town career by netting a number of goals in the handful of friendlies they have taken part in so far during pre-season.
He will need to continue to hit the ground running as goals will be harder to come by this season against higher quality opposition, and it will be interesting to see how the new arrival fares against the best centre halves in the pyramid.
Imposing defender Fairhurst has fast become a hugely influential member of Gibson’s squad, thanks in no small part to his leadership and organisational skills that were the catalyst behind their success.
The young talent will need to be at his very best throughout their return to the WPL, with the quality of strikers in the division growing with every season, something that could pose the newly promoted outfit huge problems if they fail to adjust to their surroundings.
Fairhurst’s ceiling is high in terms of how much he can improve, and having experience such as Dave Hayes to lend their support in pressure situations will also aid his cause considerably.
The former Caernarfon Town stopper is not without his critics, and some have already questioned whether or not he is ready for the step up to WPL level.
However, there is no doubting the impact he made on the Seasiders when he arrived last season at a position where every mistake is scrutinised significantly.
He is comfortable on the floor and is as good a communicator as he is a shot stopper, and there is no doubt his performances will go a long way to determining how Town will get on in their first season back in the top flight..
The legendary Town figure will provide a wealth of WPL experience that not many others operating in the squad possess, and this will be key throughout the season.
Despite his advancing years, the midfielder showed last season just what a vital presence he is in Gibson’s current set-up, with the standout also operating at centre half on occasions which further demonstrated his flexibility. He will be one of the few Prestatyn players that will have a bullseye on their back from the opening fixture, with opposition managers already fully aware of what can happen if you let Parker take control of a contest.
Brother of teammates Zyaac and Zeb, the playmaker came on leaps and bounds last season for the Seasiders as he emerged as one of the most gifted performers operating outside of the top flight.
Whether or not this will transcend to the WPL remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that on his day Edwards can win a game for you on his own, thanks to his incredible vision and eye for goal. He will once again be at the heart of everything good for Town during their season of transition, and if he can perform anywhere near the level he did last term then Gibson’s men have a real chance of surprising more than a few people during the campaign.