PRESTATYN Town’s squad will have looked on at the JD Cymru Premier’s opening weekend with a sense of envy after being denied promotion through no fault of their own.

Neil Gibson’s side were runaway winners of JD Cymru North last season during a memorable campaign that saw them finish 16 points clear of Flint Town United, who eventually took their place in the top-flight after the Seasiders’ failed to obtain a Tier 1 Domestic Licence from the Football Association of Wales.

This is a situation that should have been handled with more empathy by the governing body, especially in the current climate. Their inability to show any semblance of compassion for Town’s predicament is indicative of the way things have been handled at the FAW throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which has left clubs across the country scratching their heads due to a lack of guidance and communication from an organisation that is fully focused on the money-spinning top-flight and seemingly nothing else.

It would not have been easy for the champions to see Flint start off with a win against Newtown, but it is something they can use as a source of motivation as they look to retain their title next time around when competitive action gets underway.

Only time will tell as when that might be, but their loyalty to Gibson has seen all but one or two first-team players agree to stay on for the upcoming campaign.

Danny Davies and Jordan Davies are the only absentees after deciding to take their chances elsewhere, and Rob Hughes decided to sign for Niall McGuinness rather than return to the Seasiders. This has left them with virtually the same squad that conquered all-comers last season and even made the semi-finals of the JD Welsh Cup.

They will be favourites for the title and promotion, of that there is little doubt. Town were so far ahead of the likes of Bangor City, Colwyn Bay and Guilsfield last term and it is going to take a monumental effort from any would-be challenger to make up this points differential.

It will be hard to reach the same heights of the previous campaign, but this is a squad that is littered with talent and has even been enhanced by the arrival of mercurial forward Shaun Cavanagh from Porthmadog.

How things ended last season probably leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but it is something that should provide an endless source of motivation for Prestatyn as they look to finally return to the top of the Welsh pyramid.