The draw for the revamped Irn Bru cup was made today, with The New Saints given an away trip to Forfar Athletic whilst Bala will host Alloa Athletic at Maes Tegid.
Bala and The New Saints’ inclusion into the cup comes after an invite from the Scottish Professional Football League to clubs from Wales and Northern Ireland to compete in what is the old Scottish Challenge Club.
The competition does not have a direct Welsh equivalent, but could be compared to the EFL Trophy in England, as it includes the U20 sides of all Scottish Premiership Clubs.
Entering in the fourth round, the welsh clubs are guaranteed £5,750, with the quarter final seeing a rise to £8,250 and the semis earning them £10,250. The runners up gain £12,750 whilst the winners will scoop £17,750.
Bala may consider themselves the luckiest of two the Welsh clubs, with their home draw saving a 300 mile journey to Alloa’s Recreation Park. Alloa, or ‘The Wasps’ as their club crest makes clear, are a semi professional outfit playing in the Scottish League One (third tier), having been relegated from the Championship last season.
The tie will be played on October 8, but as it stands Alloa will be in high spirits, sitting at the top of League One with 12 points from four games, holding an unbeaten record so far.
Bala meanwhile haven’t had the smoothest of starts to this season having won just one game so far, but there is time for both teams’ fortunes to change.
The New Saints are gearing up for an away day to Forfar Athletic, who play below Alloa in the Scottish League two. They too have enjoyed a good start to the season, sitting top, winning all four of their games so far – something they have in common with TNS, who also have a 100% record so far.
On paper, The New Saints’ full time professional status should overpower the ‘Loons’, but the mixing of Welsh and Scottish league clubs is a new and intriguing prospect for TNS, Bala, and indeed the Welsh Premier League.
The Saints and Lakesiders will certainly be up for their inaugural cup fixtures, which puts them only four games away from Irn Bru cup glory.