WITH the Wingmakers already assured of their best-ever finish in the Welsh Premier and on the brink of sealing a place in Europe, chief operating officer Stewart Roberts has been reflecting on the club's progress ahead of the important clash with Bangor City this weekend.
"We are delighted with the progress we are making, to be in with a chance of European qualification right up to the last day of the weason is something we were only dreaming about in the summer," he says.
"Full credit is due to the management team and the group of players we have assembled, they have adapted fantastically well to the Welsh Premier League and deserve their chance to qualify.
"At the time we lost Craig Harrison to TNS we had a huge decision to make, whether to stick with tried and tested WPL managers and players or to instigate radical change and go for an experienced English-based manager with a different group of players that represented what we thought was better value for money.
"It was a risk, of course, but by offering long term contracts and the timescale to instigate change within a three-year plan we felt it was a risk worth taking.
"I feel as though it is already bearing fruit, the management and players have bought into the club's ethos of hard work and commitment and the relative success we are experiencing is in line with the gradual progression we sought when making our change of philosophy."
This weekend sees Bangor City visit the Hollingsworth Group Stadium where a win for Airbus would qualify them for Europe as runners-up on goal difference, a draw or defeat for the Wingmakers would take it down to the last game of the season.
"Yes it is a big game against Bangor City, especially as they have been our bogey side for some time," Roberts added.
"It is on TV too which is another obstacle we are yet to overcome.
"However Bangor City are a club we would love to emulate, they have been at the forefront in League and Cup competitions under Nev Powell and their set-up and support are now the envy of all clubs.
"We are young by comparison but are moving in the right direction, financially stable, with a sound development plan and an infrastructure second to none, commercially very active and all set to handle success well if it come our way.
"That said Bangor have beaten us four times already this season so our players will have to be 100% on top of their game, they will feel pressure due to the game's intensity but the message would be play without fear - we have already achieved our highest ever finish, we are progressing well towards our goal of Europe in three years, we are financially stable and the players are now playing for themselves, they have done the club proud already.
Roberts also paid tribute to the backroom and behind the scenes staff at the club.
"We will welcome Bangor City in our usual manner that we do with all clubs, we are renowned for our hospitality and I must go on record to thank the wonderful army of volunteers and committee members, the time and effort they put in is fantastic and actually they are the ones that deserve success more than anything.
"But they like myself are prepared to wait if need be, of course we would be over the moon if we could get over the line in second place or even if via third place should Bangor win the cup or via the play-offs, but we have to reemphasise that it is not a must but a wish for all at the club.
Our sponsors and partners have also played a vital role in the club's progress.
"We are fortunate to have a huge selection of sponsors and partners who support the club massively - to compete at the top end of the WPL is only achievable if you have some sort of consistent investment and belief.
"We do not pay out huge amounts as has been suggested by some but we have been able to carry a squad that is larger than ever before because of that investment.
"Our manager wanted strength in depth, something we have provided to the best of our financial capability.
"We will know whether it has worked after the season finishes, but we are happy with the structure both on and off the field.
"It has lead us to unknown territory, but if we get to Europe in some way we are very well placed to kick on to the next level.
"If we don't we are ready to have another go next time around but hopefully the hard work put in over the last 24 months will bring its rewards soon," he concluded.