Local Sport, Point FM Sport — December 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm — Updated: December 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Lillywhites depleted ahead of Saints’ visit

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Few will want to remember the last time the Lillywhites faced the team who already appear to be champions-elect once again in the Welsh Premier.

A 10-0 defeat to The New Saints marked the worst ever top flight defeat in Rhyl history. It also spawned a six game unbeaten run in response, but close to Christmas, just one win in nine games and a five point gap leaves their hopes of a place in the Championship Conference up in the air.

Saturday’s scrappy defeat to Newtown was not the best planning ahead of taking on the runaway leaders. Although much of the stick was reserved for referee Tom Owen, both Zyaac Edwards and Rob Hughes are suspended following his red card in the 3-1 defeat.

Add to that – Tom Hartley’s fifth booking of the season means he’s also suspended. Midfielder Alex Jones is serving the second stretch of a four-match ban after he was sent off against Penrhyncoch in the Welsh Cup.

Niall McGuinness is not denying that bad tempers have crept yet again into the Lillywhites – and its proved in the past to be costly, nay fatal, to the main targets of any league campaign. Neither he is under any illusion that The New Saints – still yet to drop a single league point after seventeen league outings, even after having to fight back against the season’s surprise package – the students of Cardiff Met.

The last two meetings at Belle Vue have ended in draws, but even with this game going ahead at the fourth time of asking – the result of cup commitments and bad weather – all seems pointed towards the Saints’ run continuing with another three points tonight, unless a depleted home side suddenly find their fire.

Don’t expect miracles – and hopefully, don’t expect another mauling, either.

 

 

 

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