AN elated Andy Preece is planning to make Airbus UK Broughton's maiden voyage into Europe the first of many.

The Wingmakers boss will use the £100,000 Europa League qualification money to strengthen his squad - as he knows the fight for the top two in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League next season will be fiercer than ever.

But his first priority will be to secure the future of the players who have brought European football to the Hollingsworth Group Stadium for the first time.

Preece told the Daily Post: "We have to start preparing now.

"We're going to look at the players we can bring in - and given it looks like we've got ourselves into Europe, maybe we can look at a different quality of player.

"But most importantly we've got to look after the players who have got us there.

"The squad has been key to what we have achieved and the camaraderie around it is very, very important.

"We have to maintain that and the lads in the squad will deservedly get their chance.

"But what we've also got to do is add competition and quality because it's not going to be easy next season.

"It's going to be a much stronger league. There is no way Bala will be in the bottom six. Bangor are going to be strong again, Aberystwyth and Port Talbot have brought in good players and Rhyl are coming up.

"There is no guarantee of top two or even top six so we've got to keep pushing ourselves.

"We'll use the money wisely - as we have always done. The club never gives me a penny more than it has available but if money is available they help the club and keep us pushing on."

Airbus will be in line for an even bigger financial windfall if they win their Europa League first qualifying tie, which will be played over two legs on July 4 and 11.

The Wingmakers will find out their opponents - and they could hail from countries as varied as Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Kazahstan and Iceland - when the draw is made on Monday June 24.

Preece said: "We can't just wait, every day is important because the first leg will come around so quickly.

"It's going to be hectic and it's going to be a learning process because no-one at the club has been through it before.

"We just want to make sure we get everything right."

Airbus all but guaranteed second spot in the Welsh Premier and the Europa League place that comes with it after they won 2-0 at home to Bangor City last weekend.

Preece's side (+35) have a vastly superior goal difference to  third-placed Bangor (+15) as well as a three-point lead.

It means the only way the Wingmakers will not finish runners-up is if they lose their last game of the season away to Port Talbot on Saturday (3.45pm) - and the Citizens beat champions The New Saints and overturn a 20-goal deficit in the process.

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