Cymru Premier: Owain Tudur Jones and Malcolm Allen preview the season

New Saints celebrate winning the title
The New Saints won last season's league for an eighth successive season

Cymru Premier, the new name for Welsh domestic football's top-flight, begins its 28th season this weekend.

The New Saints will start their title defence on Sunday at home to Caernarfon Town while newly promoted Airbus UK Broughton and Penybont are in action on Friday evening.

Former Wales internationals Malcolm Allen and Owain Tudur Jones assess the chances of the 12 clubs, with a place in the Uefa Champions League on offer for the winners.

Owain and Malcolm will feature the Cymru Premier throughout the season in their weekly Welsh-language Radio Cymru podcast - Y Cordior Ansicrwydd (The Corridor of Uncertainty).

Aberystwyth Town

Marc Williams
Aberystwyth Town's Marc Williams started his career at Wrexham

Malcolm Allen: I don't think they have recruited very well throughout the summer and it's difficult for them to attract players because it's a long way for players to travel. Maybe the locality hasn't got enough good players and I do think they should use more of the students - there must be some good players out of the large student population there. I feel that it's going to be a long, hard season for Aberystwyth, and maybe even relegation.

Airbus UK Broughton

Owain Tudur Jones: Airbus are back after a short spell out of the league and I think they've had a couple of seasons to reflect. Steve O'Shaughnessy has done a really good job there and I think their recruitment has been good, bringing in a couple of players that have starred in the Cymru Premier over the last few years, most notably Andy Owens from Connah's Quay. I expect to see Airbus starting well but perhaps they will have to make do with a bottom six finish but I think they will be safe.

Bala Town

Owain Tudur Jones: I would expect Colin Caton's side to learn from the mistakes last season when they were within a game of winning the play-offs and a European place. But they underachieved and with the budget they have, more is expected of them. I expect them to bounce back and finish third behind Connah's Quay and New Saints. But it's an important season because if they get it wrong again then there certainly will be more pressure.

Barry Town United

Barry Town's Robbie Patten in action against Cliftonville
Barry Town lost to Northern Ireland's Cliftonville in the Europa League qualifiers

Malcolm Allen: Barry finished third last season, and it's always going to be hard after doing so well and teams find out about you. Mo Touray, who was on loan from Newport, is going to be a big miss because he and Kayne McLaggon were a good partnership and they complemented each other. But Gavin Chesterfield's a shrewd and tactically-minded manager and he's brought in a couple of good players that fit into his style of play. I think they will finish in the top six but outside the top three.

Caernarfon Town

Owain Tudur Jones: Caernarfon did so well in their first season back in the top-flight. Their foundation is built on a work ethic, a determination and you are talking about a side who pride themselves on making life difficult for the opposition. It's going to be a similar story this season. Like Barry more people know about them and the difficulty of going to The Oval. So it's going to be a question of how ready they are going to be for teams to counter their strengths. I see them having another good season, a top six finish but not the surprise package they were last season.

Cardiff Met

Cardiff Met players celebrate their win over Bala Town
Cardiff Met beat Bala Town on penalties in last season's play-off final

Owain Tudur Jones: The only disappointment Christian Edwards would have had last season was not finishing in the top six, but everything else went to plan. They won the League Cup and then went on to win the European play-offs - an unbelievably successful season. He will hope to have more consistency this season. The question for them will be can they go again or will they sit back on the success they had in reaching Europe? Will they be hungry for that experience again or will they think that was the cherry on top of the cake for them in terms of the last few years? The challenge is to continue to build.

Carmarthen Town

Owain Tudur Jones: It's going to be a difficult season, as always, for Carmarthen in terms of what's happened there over the last few years. They surprise a few people who expect them to really struggle. There's always a threat, midway through the season, are they going to be in trouble but always just find a way to kick on with a blend of experience and youth and create a gap between them and the bottom two. I see a similar pattern this season when they win games they're not expected to win and lose games they are expected to win. I see them finishing in the bottom six, but safe.

Cefn Druids

Huw Griffiths
Huw Griffiths is in his second spell as manager of Cefn Druids

Owain Tudur Jones: Last season was a bit of a struggle for Cefn Druids after a big season the previous year when they won the European play-off with a team that was built on a good work ethic. They tried to go to the next level and probably recruited better players on paper that lacked the extra edge that the other players, who had less ability, had. I think Huw Griffiths will expect a similar performance to the season before last. They will be a bottom six, but comfortable.

Connah's Quay Nomads

Owain Tudur Jones: Andy Morrison's squad look strong, although I think they are just a couple of players short, maybe a goalkeeper and another forward. But I expect last season's runners-up to go one better this time. Last season they would have won the league barring New Saints going on an incredible run. If Connah's Quay start the season like they did last year then I expect them to take advantage and end up champions.


Chris Hughes
Chris Hughes has been in charge of Newtown since November 2013

Malcolm Allen: Manager Chris Hughes has worked wonders and he gets his team to play the right way. They were unlucky in some of the games last season but I do expect them to start better this season. They've recruited well and for them to get players in on loan and playing through the season is great experience for the young boys. Chris Hughes will have his team ready this time around to start the season quickly, because they didn't last year. Top six for me.


Malcolm Allen: Rhys Griffiths' side went the whole of last season without losing a game as they secured promotion. But it's going to be a different kettle of fish in the big league and the big stage so he needs big players. He's brought a couple of players in which has strengthened the squad and only allowed one to leave. They will be determined, because that's what Rhys is like and they will be fit. I expect them to be in the top six in their first season.

The New Saints

Malcolm Allen: Scott Ruscoe's side set the standards. Their hardest game is in training because they are competing for 11 places on a Saturday. Players such as Simon Spender, Chris Marriott and goalkeeper Paul Harrison might be getting older but they are still among the fittest at the club. They've got 18 to 20 players at the club that would walk into any Cymru Premier side. They've got the strongest squad and on a given day they are a great side to watch. For me they will be champions.

Listen to Y Coridor Ansicrwydd on BBC Sounds

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