TNS earn praise from boss for their early season efforts

Scott Ruscoe has praised the “application and attitude” of The New Saints players throughout the campaign, as the Park Hall side await further news on the future of the Welsh football season, writes Stuart Dunn.

Scott Ruscoe
Scott Ruscoe

The TNS squad returned to training earlier this week after all JD Cymru League football was suspended for three weeks just before Christmas because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After Wales was raised to Alert Level 4, elite status was removed from the Cymru Premier, Welsh Premier Women’s League, Cymru North and Cymru South, meaning only fully professional clubs could continue to operate.

However, the league itself chose to call off all league action for three weeks – including for pro clubs such as Oswestry-based Saints – in light of that decision, with the date for postponed matches now extended up until January 22.

The JD Cymru Leagues confirmed on its Twitter account that ‘Scheduled matches up until 22/1/21 have been postponed. Further news will follow after Welsh Government update on Friday.’

Saints are currently top of the JD

Cymru Premier table with 44 points from 17 games, three points clear of reigning champions Connah’s Quay Nomads, who have a game in hand.

Manager Ruscoe has been impressed with the efforts of his side, who have won 14, drawn two and lost just once, scoring 49 goals in the process, and conceding just 10.

“If you look at it in those sort of figures and stats, we’ve had a decent start to the season,” said Ruscoe.

“We had to, following on from last season, but what’s more impressive is the way that they’re approaching the training and the games.

“Your performance will take care of results. If you play with a team at eights and nines out of 10 every week, then you’re going to pick up the majority of the points, and that’s all we can ask for.

“I think they were in the right frame of mind coming back pre-season and that’s just gone right through until now.

“Hopefully that will continue if we can obviously get back to playing and starting the league off again, so credit has to go with the players because they’ve been excellent.

“It’s 17 games we’ve played, just over halfway, so I’ve got fingers crossed hopefully we can finish the league and make sure that we’re still in this position come the end of the season.

“It’s down to the players. Their application and attitude has been first class.”

The TNS squad had an extended break over the festive season, following the suspension of the league season, which meant the postponement of their home clash with Cefn Druids on Boxing Day and trip to Haverfordwest County on December 29.

Ruscoe said: “This time it was a bit different because we weren’t playing around Christmas and we already knew that.

“Yes, it’s a shame because we love being involved in football and you love planning your life around football, but when things are taken out of your control there’s not a lot you can do and you just have to get on with it and abide by the rules and things like that.

“A strange time but one with the players getting an extended rest.

“You’ll probably see this morning, they’ll be at it, flying, and excited to be back and doing a bit of training because that’s what they enjoy doing.”

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