Chris Hughes says he is anticipating a closely fought contest as Newtown prepare for the visit of Bala Town in the first of the weekend’s Europa League Play-Off semi-finals tonight (7.45).
Newtown are targeting a return to European football after finishing the season in sixth-place.
“We’ve known the other teams that we are going to be participating in it from last January when the league was split,” said Hughes. Getting into the top-six has been difficult as we’d expect, but we feel that our performances have been good. We go into this with good spirits.”
Newtown have not reached Europe since winning the Play-Offs in the 2014/15 season, while visitors Bala Town are looking to qualify for a fifth-straight year after an inconsistent league campaign.
The Lakesiders struggled to maintain consistency throughout the season and completed their season with their lowest points total in seven seasons. They are however unbeaten in their last three meetings with Newtown, including last month’s 3-2 victory at Latham Park.
“We’ve had a good look at Bala, we’ve got a really good idea on how the game is going to go,” revealed Hughes. “They’ve had a good look at us as well. Ultimately it may come down to a little bit of luck on the day, a refereeing decision, a little bit of quality – we are expecting a close game!
“We understand what we need to do – we have to make sure that we don’t leave them with a chance. They are a good side. I think that everyone else has been talking about all the other teams competing and that suits us.We are really looking forward to it!”