WINGMAKERS' director of football Andy Preece is targeting another second-place finish and believes his side are on course to become a major financial force in Welsh Premier League.
Preece spoke to Daily Post sports reporter Dave Jones after Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Rhyl - his side's first-ever win at the Corbett Sports Stadium.
Dave Jones: Do you think you deserved your 2-1 victory at the Corbett Sports Stadium on Saturday?
Andy Preece: In the first half we did really well, had a lot of opportunities, especially on the counter and we probably should have been a couple up at half time.
Rhyl started off quite well in the second half, but I thought the changes we made, with Ryan Wade and Wayne Riley coming on, gave us more impetus.
There were some great blocks by them, they do defend their box really well, but our keeper James Coates made a brilliant save going down to his right and they had one cleared off the line so they had their moments, but I think over the 90 minutes we were the better team and created the better opportunities.
DJ: Last season yourselves and The New Saints were the undisputed top two in the Welsh Premier. This season there are a couple more clubs challenging you for second place. How do you feel the first phase of the season has gone overall for you?
AP: I think it’s gone really well. We knew it would be more competitive this year, we knew that last year was probably not the norm with us being so far clear (of the team in third) because it just seemed like everybody was dropping points and drawing with each other.
We’re only a couple of points worse off than we were at this stage last season and we’re very close to the two teams (Bala and Aberystwyth) immediately above us, which shows how well we’ve done.
It’s close and it’s tight and you play each other and this is what we expect, we never expect anything to be easy to get that second position.
DJ: Are you happy to be in fourth place entering the second phase?
AP: We’re just pleased to be in the top six, you look at the quality of teams, you look at Rhyl today and Bangor and teams like that who are in the bottom six.
It’s a tough, tough league and we’re delighted to be where we are and we’re in with a shout of getting second.
We’re going to be in the play-offs, we’re still in the Welsh Cup so there’s still a lot of opportunity.
DJ: Are you aiming for second place again and automatic entry into Europe?
AP: We’ve always got to be going for that. It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be tight, every game’s going to be vital, every point vital, but you’re always in it because everybody plays everybody. You’re playing against the top teams week in, week out so the most consistent team will probably be the one who takes it.
DJ: One thing which is pleasing to see at Airbus is you have picked up some quality players from the Huws Gray Alliance League who are now shining in the WPL. Is this a road you will continue to go down, looking at the lower leagues for new talent?
AP: We’re just not in the position to get the marquee players in this league. We have spoken to the Hunts’ and the Venables’ over time, but we just haven’t got that one person or that one investor who can give us the sort of money that they demand, so we’ve had to look elsewhere.
The budget was cut in the summer and we understood why that was done, but we’re in a strong position financially off the field and at the end of this season we’ll be in a position where we can maintain what we’ve got.
If we get into Europe then we’ll be able to invest and then we might be able to get those marquee players.
So we’re in a strong position as a football club and that’s the thing, you’ve got to build the foundations and make sure that’s right.
We’re talking about a team that’s been finishing second and yet we don’t think we’ve invested heavily yet, but if we keep doing what we’re doing and the foundations are there then we really can make ourselves a real force financially in the league as well.