Sunday night is opening night for Barry Town!

By Contributed Item in Football

After 13 years, the Welsh Premier League makes its long-awaited return to Jenner Park this Sunday night, as promoted Barry Town welcome WPL ever-presents Aberystwyth Town in a 5.15pm kick-off..

A bumper crowd is expected for the landmark fixture, with supporters able to pay on the evening at the Barry Road and Gladstone Road turnstiles for £7 (adults), £5 (seniors/students) and £3 (children).

After goals from Louis Gerrard and new signing Ryan Newman defeated neighbours Ely Rangers in their final pre-season friendly, Barry finalised their 25-man squad for the campaign ahead this week, with prospects Michael George, Callum Flynn and Joe Baker joining established heads Lewis Cosslett and Dan Bradley and returning back-up Joe Massaro in completing the on-field personnel.

For the Sunday night fixture, influential goalkeeper Mike Lewis is anticipated to start between the sticks against his former club, having appeared over 100 times for the west Wales side in the WPL.

In defence, Chris Hugh and Luke Cooper are expected to feature, after each played a major role in the team’s 2017-18 Welsh League Division One title-winning season, with hometown trio Curtis Watkins, Paul Morgan and Ryan Evans among the other options at Gavin Chesterfield’s disposal.

Leading the way in midfield, captain James Saddler will don the Barry Town armband once more, with six-season teammate Troy Greening and 2015-16 recruits Louis Gerrad and Callum Sainty the other familiar faces in a midfield bolstered by new signings Newman, Sam Jones and Elliot Scotcher.

Finally, the Jenner Park faithful can look forward to some exciting attacking moments this season, with the explosive Kayne McLaggon joining the home team’s front line, where TJ Nagi, Drew Fahiya, Jordan Cotterill, James Dixon and Tyrrell Webbe have already scored some 257 goals between them.

This Sunday night’s fixture, which will be broadcast by S4C, will be the Town’s first in the Welsh top flight since May 1, 2004, when Colin Addison’s Barry side ran out 3-1 winners over Port Talbot Town.

In two interesting coincidences, Barry lifted their last Welsh Premier title after a home match with Aberystwyth and also kicked off their final WPL campaign to date against the Park Avenue outfit.

The visitors to Jenner Park finished 10th out of 12 last season, escaping relegation by four points and will kick off the 2017-18 season under the new management of WPL stalwart Neville Powell; a former Welsh Premier League and Welsh Cup winner as boss of Bangor City.

Following their clash with Aberystwyth, Barry embark on their opening long-haul trip of the season, as they travel to Cymru Alliance champions Prestatyn Town on Saturday, August 19 (2.30pm kick-off).

This meeting of the Welsh Premier’s newly-promoted pairing will be only the second in history, following a keenly-contested Welsh Cup semi-final tie at Newtown’s Latham Park in April 2013.

The club will be running return travel to the match at Bastion Gardens from Jenner Park, with supporters encouraged to become a club member for 2017-18 in order to secure their place.

Membership cards are available now from officer Mark Hollis and will be on sale at the Jenner Suite on Thursday, with a host of discounts for the forthcoming season on offer as part of the package.

Season ticket cards remain on sale at £100 (adults), £70 (seniors/students) and £35 (children) and will be available for purchase or collection from the Jenner Suite this Thursday evening (7pm-8pm).

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