Ely Rangers travel to fellow Cardiff based side STM Sports on Saturday, manager Julian Jenkins speaks pre-match on the game and how the club have progressed over the last year.
At almost the half way point, Rangers sit third in the division, which is a contrast to the clubs 13th placed finish, which saw them avoid relegation by six points, Jenkins feels that the league table has not been decided yet.
“It’s been a pleasing first half of the season with an improvement in performances so far, we have a young side and I’m pleased with the way they are growing together.
Last season was a bit of a transition and we added to the squad and have formed a pattern of play that the lads have taken to and seem to thrive.
The lads know that we have a strong squad available at the moment. They also know that they have to perform to keep their shirts which is why I believe we’ll be dangerous going in to the back end of the season with still a lot to play for.”
The Ely Rangers manager paid tribute to Nathan Cadette’s men, praising their style of play.
“We know that STM are probably one of the best footballing teams in this division and play with a lot of confidence and freedom at home.
One thing you know in this league is no one will give you a yard and we except the same on Saturday.”
The last time the two sides met, they played to a 5-3 classic in the League Cup back in August, STM Sports were 3-1 down at half time.
“There were a number of turning points in that game, but with us having a player sent off early made our task that much more difficult. We had chances to extend our lead, but unfortunately we didn’t and they punished us. I don’t think this game is a reference to our league game this Saturday.”
Despite both being based in Cardiff, Jenkins played down the feeling of derby but predicted a quality game between the two sides.
“I don’t think the location will give the game an edge although I think that there will be two good footballing teams wanting to out with the other on a surface that will suit both sides.”
With January now here for Ely, most business tends to be done at this point, with seasons taking shape at the half way point, Jenkins says the club will recruit but only if it is the right player.
“As a club we are always looking to progress but we don’t just sign players for the sake of it. From my perspective we want people at the club with the right attitude who want to play an attack open style of football.
We are in the process of signing three players as we speak, my mantra is simple are they better or different to what we got and the players we are bringing in will certainly add quality, experience and depth to the squad.”
Jenkins finished on the note that Ely Rangers are looking to bring in a 3G pitch to their Wenvoe home as Ely play STM on a 3G pitch up at Llanrumney.
“Like most teams we are putting together a business case to install our own 3G surface with new changing rooms and community facilities.
From a footballing perspective we train at Jenner Park every week so the lads are used to it. To be fair to our ground staff Graham and Tommy our pitch is first class which is conducive to our style of play, so for us it will be business as usual.”