PRESTATYN Town’s title-winning squad and their loyalty to manager Neil Gibson could be the key component behind them retaining their title next season.

The Seasiders’ were unable to secure their place in the JD Cymru Premier after failing to obtain their Tier 1 Licence from the Football Association of Wales on appeal, but with planning permission now granted for their TV gantry, another bold bid is expected next time around.

Given the fact Gibson’s side were so far ahead of the pack last term puts them in a tremendous position. They ended up 16 points clear of Flint Town United to achieve their pre-season ambitions, and with the Silkmen now taking their place in the top-flight, others with championship ambitions have a tremendous amount of catching up to do.

As is the case with any squad, there have been some changes during the summer. Danny Davies secured a big move to Connah’s Quay Nomads, midfielder Rob Hughes opted not to return following a short spell in Australia in favour of Flint, and striker Jordan Davies was moved on.

Plenty of Town’s squad received offers from elsewhere, which is to be expected when side wins the league by such a margin and is left in limbo somewhat. But the players have all been fiercely loyal to Gibson over the years, and this proved to be the case once again.

This alone makes them leading contenders for the JD Cymru North title next season, and although the likes of Colwyn Bay, Guilsfield, Bangor City and even Llandudno might be set to make significant improvements, Prestatyn remains in the driving seat.

Had three or four more decided to take their chances elsewhere, then their position as title favourites might have been in doubt. This is not the case, and Gibson will now have a strong core to blend with some exciting young talent during what is set to be another must-watch campaign in the second tier.

There are sure to plenty of twists and turns along the way, but it already appears as if the Seasiders’ are going to take some stopping in their pursuit of a return to the top of the Welsh pyramid. They have even bolstered their squad with the signings of talented youngster Callum Roberts and mercurial forward Shaun Cavanagh, who is another with experience at the domestic game’s highest level.

The new owner Jamie Welsh seems keen to carry on the work of Neal Colakoglu and get the club back to the promised land. There is a solid structure in place behind the scenes with Leon Field, Martin Jones and Leigh Williams, but at the end of the day it will all come down to how they perform on the pitch.

Gibson convincing the majority of his title-winning squad to stay was the easy part. The bullseye on their back will be bigger than ever before. But this is something they handled immensely well last season.