Welsh Cup final 2016: Airbus UK's Andy Preece's debt to competition

By Aled WilliamsBBC Wales Sport
Andy Preece
Andy Preece has also managed Bury, Worcester City and Nortwhich Victoria
JD Welsh Cup Final: Airbus UK Broughton v The New Saints
Date: Monday, 2 May Venue: Glyndwr University Stadium, Wrexham Kick-off: 16;15 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Wrexham and the Welsh Cup hold a special significance for Airbus UK's director of football Andy Preece.

Preece has guided the Flintshire club to their first Welsh Cup final, where they face The New Saints, who are aiming for a cup treble, on Monday.

He will lead out his team at the Glyndwr University Stadium, the ground where he spent a season after joining Wrexham from non-league football in 1990.

"It's full circle for me," Preece said.

"I got spotted by Wrexham in the Welsh Cup when I was at Worcester.

"For now to be leading a side out in the Welsh Cup final will be surreal and to lead them out at the Racecourse is going to be a great honour for me."

How they got to the final
Airbus UK BroughtonThe New Saints
Round Three: Haverfordwest County (a) 2-0Round Three: Aberystwyth Town (h) 3-0
Round Four: Guilsfield (h) 3-0Round Four: Barry Town United (a) 5-2
Round Five: Bala Town (h) 3-0Round Five: Newtown (h) 1-0
Semi-final: Port Talbot Town 7-0Semi-final: Gap Connah's Quay 5-0

Striker Preece spent only a season with then fourth division Wrexham before spells at Stockport County, Crystal Palace, Blackpool, Bury and Carlisle United.

The 49-year-old started his managerial career in the Football League with Bury and also managed former club Worcester City and Northwich Victoria before arriving at Airbus in 2012.

'Icing on the cake'

The club, who play in the shadow of the Airbus aerospace factory on the banks of the River Dee in Broughton, have twice finished Welsh Premier League runners-up under Preece and played in the Europa League.

But up until this season a Welsh Cup final place had eluded them, having lost two semi-finals in the last four years.

"We've been successful over the last few seasons but not managed to get to that cup final. We've been close a couple of times," Preece added.

"That's the icing on the cake for us but it will be nice to go on and win it. We know what a tough task we've got.

"It would be the biggest achievement of my career as a manager.

"And if we did do it, it would probably one of the biggest shocks in Welsh Cup history."

New Saints have won the Welsh Cup for the last two seasons and have not lost in the competition since a semi-final defeat to Bangor City in 2013.

Craig Harrison and Carl Darlington
Craig Harrison (left) with Saints head coach Carl Darlington after their 2012 Welsh Cup final win over Cefn Druids

Victory over Airbus on Monday would see TNS complete the domestic treble of the Welsh Cup, Welsh Premier League and Word League Cup for a second successive season.

"To get a double treble is unprecedented," Saints director of football Craig Harrison said.

"We would certainly put ourselves in the history books as being the best ever domestic Welsh Premier League team.

"The Welsh Cup is a very special and prestigious cup that I enjoy and I don't get sick of getting to the final.

"I'm sure it will be a tough game on Monday and we've got every respect for Airbus."