Barry Town United Manager Gavin Chesterfield and Taffs Well’s Lee Bridgeman are preparing for their Welsh League meeting on Saturday afternoon, and both took the time out to speak to YCPD ahead of the game. .
The fixture is a vital one for both clubs as they look to climb the table, with Barry bringing a better form into the game with two wins from their last three games as opposed to Taffs Well’s three straight league losses.
Here, both managers give their views on the game ahead aswell as the current ongoings at their respective clubs.
Gavin Chesterfield – Barry Town
Gavin, a return to league action for yourselves after three weeks of playing in cup competitions. Are you looking forward to it?
“Yes, it’s nice to get back into league action and a tough game awaits against a good side. In the last few weeks we’ve had some indifferent results. Losing to Llantwit Major in the league cup was very disappointing; as was losing to Penybont in the Welsh Cup, but the lads responded positively and put in a good performance against Carmarthen to win the semi-final.”.
We recently came across some stats and it has Barry with the best defensive record in the league. What makes your defence so hard to break down and can you see it continuing?
“Yes, I saw that myself! The lads at the back are in some cases are still getting to know each other and each others games, so to be functioning quite well at this is naturally quite pleasing.
Stats can be construed in a variety of ways but the boys work hard and know the value of clean sheets. That said, the whole group have a part to play in that aspect, not just the defenders and GK.”
You praise the Jenner Park crowd and to no surprise, Barry boast the best home record in the league. Does playing at home, especially with the 3G pitch, give you an advantage in the league do you feel?
” As I mentioned previously, Jenner Park is a special place and our supporters are magnificent in their support of the players. They have after all, lived our recent journey with us and I believe that has brought us closer together.
The pitch itself is immaculate and allows us to play our style and brand of football. Whilst our home record is very good, it’s still a place where most teams like visiting because of the facilities and atmosphere. As a result, we have to ensure that we play well and take our chances to continue getting results.”
You’re currently seventh in terms of the goal scoring charts, do you want more from your strikers?
“Ask any manager and we always want more goals, but so do players! Whilst I do feel we can be more ruthless in front of goal, our strikers are in good form. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s the teams responsibility to create chances for strikers but also to contribute more goals from all positions on the pitch.”
Many teams want to see you in the Welsh Premier League, with your massive crowds and the setup at the club. Do you think promotion is realistic this season?
“We’d love to be there and we feel we could positively contribute to that league, but so do other teams. We play in a tough league, with lots of good teams and we have to earn the right.
In terms of promotion, it’s still early on in the league season, but if we have a little luck and the players and staff perform to their ability, we have a chance as we have a good group, but as I said, so have other teams and we have to earn the right.”
Of course the Nathaniel MG cup final is weeks away yet, but in the meantime, how will you keep players focused on the task in hand in the league?
“The players know the task at hand, every game carries importance. Of course it’s great to get through to a National cup final but that’s a little while off. Between now and then we have 7 league games and we’ll be doing our best to get as much points as possible. For now though, we can only focus on Taffs Well.”
The New Saints and gap Connah’s Quay will replay their abandoned semi final next week – does it matter to you who you play in the final? Have you a preference?
“They are two very good teams, competing at the top of the WPL so it’s going to be tough regardless, but it’s something I can’t control, so whoever the opponent, we’ll be trying our best to win.”
Any injuries troubling you within the team or do you have the luxury of the full squad?
“Like most teams we have a few niggles at the moment but pleasingly Troy Greening took full part in a training session last night for the first time this season.
Similarly, Callum Sainty appears to be on the mend following a frustrating start to the season for him. Unfortunately Luke Cooper is suspended for this game but apart from that we are ok.”
Taffs Well have had a run of losses in their league form, psychologically does that mean anything to your squad? How do you feel tomorrow’s game will go?
“Psychologically it means nothing. In this league anyone can beat anyone. Taffs Well are a good team and I expect a tough game.”
Lee, a return to league action for yourselves after three weeks of playing in cup competitions, prior to that it’s been a while since you saw a league win. Are you looking forward to it?
“Yes really looking forward to our visit to jenner park , the cup had been a bit of a distraction but also a frustration as in our last league game we had an excellent win against Caerau Ely”
We recently came across some stats and it has Barry with the best defensive record in the league. What’s your plan to break down that defence? Is it something you can plan for?
“They have a great keeper and great defenders we know all about Coops and Chris Hugh as they’re ex Taffs Well players. We have an exciting front three as do Barry so it could be an exciting game ! I think it’s just down to who does better on the day hopefully the Barry keeper and back 4 have an off day.”
The Jenner Park crowd is regularly praised and to no surprise Barry boast the best home record in the league. As the visiting team, do you feel that?
“They are a great bunch of supporters and I’ve always had a good bit of banter with them, as a player things like that would inspire me and I know it’s the same for the Taffs players.
As the Barry fans know our track record isn’t to0 bad at Jenner either and we have some fond memories of playing there, our 5-0 win which was one of the best welsh league performances I’ve ever seen and the last ever game played on grass there was our league cup final win.”
The cup quarter finals are weeks away, congratulations on reaching them, you’ve been drawn away to Bridgend Street AFC, but in the meantime, how will you keep players focussed on the task in hand in the league?
“Thank you , we have a game in hand on leaders Goytre if we win that we will only be 6 points off top if we win tomorrow we will only be 3 points off Barry with 19 games to go so we believe we can still win the league ! I’ve said to the players the side that finishes above Barry this year will win the league as I expect Barry to get promoted this season. So the players are definitely focused on the next few weeks.”
Any injuries troubling you currently or do you have the luxury of the full squad?
“Joey Evans is out injured with a bad back.”
Your home ground has seen some improvements, will you be bringing many fans with you on Saturday to enjoy the away day experience?
” Yes we are very greatful to the Welsh FA and their Grant scheme for helping and allowing us to continue to grow as a club. We have plans in place to further develop the ground further , we have a loyal band of supporters which is ever growing so no doubt there will be a few there tomorrow.”
The match kicks off at 14:00 tomorrow, Saturday November 19th at Jenner Park, Barry.
Barry Town United form: WLWLW
Taffs Well form: WDLLL
Interviews by: @WGOTB