BIG things were expected of Rhyl at the start of the Huws Gray Alliance season, and after a sluggish start there has been a resurgence that can give everyone associated with the club plenty of confidence for the remainder of the campaign.

The Lilywhites completely transformed their management team and playing staff over the summer, which resulted in many tipping them for promotion back to the top flight in what was expected to be the most competitive second tier campaign in recent memory.

Things did not go according to plan from the outset which saw them fall way off the relentless pace set by title favourites Airbus Broughton, and after director of football Eddie Maurice-Jones publicly challenged his talented squad to question themselves and pick things up it has resulted in a sharp change in their overall performances and seen them go on a five game winning streak leading into the busy festive season.

Despite the majority of the squad all playing together at previous clubs, it was always going to take some time to adjust to the expectation and size of a prestigious club such as the Lilies, and there now seems to be a belief within the group that they are on the cusp of something special going forward.

That might not come this season given how much they have to claw back, but after a number of seasons of relative underachievement under previous regimes there does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel for a loyal fanbase that turn out in their numbers on a consistent basis.

Maurice-Jones and his backroom staff deserve huge credit for sticking with the group during what was a difficult period of transition at times, and this seems to have brought them all closer together that is sure to make them a force to be reckoned with during the second half of the campaign.

This is a club that deserves to be in the JD Welsh Premier League given its stature within the game, but that is not handed to you and with the second tier as competitive as it has ever been, finishing second is a realistic possibility they should be aiming for to give them the best possible chance of success next time around.

Standout performer: Ben Nash

A commanding defender who has chipped in with a valuable contribution at the other end of the field, Nash has been one of the shining lights for the Lilywhites so far this term and has further enhanced his reputation as one of the brightest young defenders operating outside the top flight.

He is a fantastic communicator who offers a sense of calm with his aerial presence and composure on the ball, and although he did not find it easy at first Nash has come on a considerable amount during the season and is going to have a massive part to play in the weeks and months ahead.

One to watch: Aaron Hassall

The versatile wide-man has been used in a number of different positions so far this season, and he looks to have finally found a home at the Belle Vue Stadium which has resulted in a series of outstanding displays of late.

There has been no doubting his talent that has sometimes resulted in Hassall missing the final product, but he has visibly improved his decision making since his time at the Lilies, which is a testament to his willingness to adapt and the confidence the management team has in his overall ability.