Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. The New Saints
OPPOSITION FOCUS | IN THE DUGOUT
The New Saints’ manager is Craig Harrison, who returned to the club in 2022, having previously managed the Saints between 2011 and 2017.
Harrison represented the likes of Middlesbrough, Preston North End and Crystal Palace during his playing career, but retired from professional football in 2003 after suffering a double compound fracture in his left leg.
The 45-year-old’s time in management began with Airbus UK Broughton, before moving to the Saints in 2011.
This began a successful time in his career, in which he led the club to six consecutive Cymru Premier titles, as well as winning the Welsh Cup four times and Welsh League Cup on three occasions.
His success with the Saints caught the eye of Hartlepool United, who appointed Harrison in 2017. However, after a brief spell with the club, spells with Bangor City and Connah’s Quay Nomads followed.
After winning the Nathaniel MG Cup with the latter, Harrison re-joined the Saints and led the club to Cymru Premier and Welsh Cup glory last season.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | A LOOK AT LAST SEASON
Last season was another successful campaign for The New Saints, who won a league and domestic cup double.
The Saints finished the season 22 points clear at the top of the Cymru Premier, having lost just one of their 32 fixtures.
In the Welsh Cup, Harrison’s side met Bala Town in the final, producing a fine performance to claim an impressive 6-0 victory.
A huge part of the Saints’ success was the form of striker Declan McManus, who joined the club from Dunfermline Athletic in 2021. McManus finished as the league’s top scorer with 30 goals, claiming his second consecutive golden boot.
The Cymru Premier title win earned the Saints a place in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, in which they will face Swedish side BK Häcken in a two-legged tie.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | SUMMER BUSINESS
The New Saints have added three new faces to their squad so far this summer, with three players leaving the club.
Harrison has added to his goalkeeping options with the signing of 18-year-old Reece Thompson, who was most recently at Shrewsbury Town.
A huge part of the Saints’ success last season was midfielder Daniel Williams, who was on loan from Swansea City. However, the club have moved quickly to make his stay permanent.
The Saints have also signed playmaker Rory Holden from Port Vale, who made 11 appearances in League One last season.
In terms of departures, midfielder Beau Cornish and defender Keston Davies have signed for fellow Cymru Premier clubs Aberystwyth Town and Pontypridd United respectively, while goalkeeper Luke Simpson has also departed.
CLUB CONNECTION | ASH BAKER
Tuesday evening’s pre-season match could see the Bluebirds face off against former right-back Ash Baker.
Hailing from Bridgend, Baker came through the ranks at City, before making a move to Sheffield Wednesday, where he made 12 First Team league appearances.
The full-back also gained experience with Newport County, prior to joining the Saints, where he is a two-time Cymru Premier champion, as well as gaining experience in European competition.