Cardiff Met FC: Student club one win away from the Europa League

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How Cardiff Met secured play-off final spot

Former Wales international Christian Edwards says he is "pinching himself" at the prospect of student side Cardiff Met qualifying for the Europa League.

The Students are one win from Europe and face Bangor City in a play-off for a place in the competition on Saturday.

"For any team in the Welsh Premier League, to get to Europe is massive and it would be exactly the same for us," Met director of football Edwards said.

"I think it is about the journey that we have been on."

The former Wales and Nottingham Forest defender told BBC Wales Sport: "We have a big philosophy at our club that we're always arriving somewhere, we've never arrived.

"It would be another destination for us if we were lucky to get there.

"It's testament to all the hard work of the players, all off the coaching staff and myself have put in over recent years.

"Every single player is a student bar one, who this year has just graduated as a student and has become Dr Charlie Corsby and is now a member of staff at the University."

Moving up the pyramid

Christian Edwards with Cardiff Met celebrating promotion
Christian Edwards and Cardiff Met celebrate winning the Welsh League Division One title and promotion

Cardiff Met secured promotion to Welsh football's top flight at the start of the current season after winning the Welsh League Division One title.

It was one of many promotions the club formerly named UWIC, who merged with League of Wales founders Inter Cardiff in 2000, had enjoyed in recent times.

"I have to pinch myself that five years ago we were playing in Welsh League Division Three," Edwards added.

"But we've worked hard and the players, more than anybody, deserve the success they get on the pitch because of the amount of effort they've put in order to make the team as good as they are."

Qualifying for the Europa League seemed an unlikely prospect early in the campaign after five defeats in their opening six games.

"We'd spoken at the start of the season that we shouldn't just go up and to hang on staying in the league and we should set ourselves goals and high targets," Edwards continued.

"We did have belief we could reach the top six because we have real strong belief in ourselves but it was a concern after the initial start. We stuck to the task and the boys worked very hard

"We had a really good purple patch around October-November and it really did pull us through and gave the lads a lot of confidence."

Facing the Citizens

The Students' turnaround this season saw them secure a top-six spot for the second half of the campaign and a guaranteed play-off at the end of it.

In the semi-final, a late goal from Charlie Corsby secured victory over Carmarthen Town to set up a final against Bangor City.

Inter Cardiff featured in the Uefa Cup on three occasions but victory at the Bangor University Stadium on Saturday would see the present entity reach Europe for the first time.

Bangor, their opponents, are a club who have represented Wales in various European competitions on 15 occasions, although not since 2013-14, and Edwards expects a tough game.

"Bangor are a very good side and deserve to be inside the top four," Edwards said of Gary Taylor-Fletcher's team.

"They've been consistent, have some exciting individuals and they play well as a team.

"We've had some good battles against them and we feel if we work hard enough on the day and get things right then we can be a force against Bangor.

"The boys are in buoyant mood ahead of the final and I think a lot of the pressure is on Bangor being the home side.

"We want to turn up and show people the reason why we've managed to get the final is because we're a good side."

Live coverage of Bangor v Cardiff Met is on Sgorio, S4C on Saturday, 13 May from 17:00 BST

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