Noah Edwards: Nomads ‘full of confidence’ ahead of European tie

For Connah’s Quay Nomads, playing in Europe is always a standout occasion. 

The Nomads are set for their eighth European campaign in nine seasons, and according to midfielder Noah Edwards, the club’s historic JD Welsh Cup triumph over The New Saints last season has given the team much more confidence heading into the European tie. 

Neil Gibson’s side travel to Slovenia this Thursday to face NK Bravo in their UEFA Conference League first qualifying round first leg, and there is a huge amount of excitement for Edwards and his teammates. 

“When playing in the league, I think everyone’s aim is to play in Europe,” Edwards said. “This will be my fifth game in Europe after playing in Belarus and Iceland for the Nomads previously. These are games that do not come around often, so this is a great opportunity for the whole squad.

“Obviously last year’s result against KA Akureyri was disappointing, but we do not feel that represented the overall performance, so it goes to show how well you have play in these games in order to progress into the next round. 

“The squad have been together for a longer period under Gibbo [Neil Gibson] now, and now we are more settled, we can go into Thursday full of confidence, especially after winning the Welsh Cup in our last competitive fixture. 

“We are under no illusion on how tough it will be in Slovenia and also when we play the home leg, so we know we will have to be at our best to win the tie.”

In pre-season, the Nomads have tested themselves against Gresford Athletic, Flint Mountain, Dundee United and fellow Conference League qualifiers Caernarfon Town.

Getting your fitness levels up in pre-season is key according to Edwards, and he and his teammates are ready to put their hard work to the test against NK Bravo on Thursday. 

“The lads have worked really well with our sports scientist Kyle Taylor in order to be in the best shape possible to take on Bravo,” said Edwards. 

“We know we need to be at our best physically to perform at the level we want and our pre-season matches have helped with that as they have been a good benchmark to see where we are at ahead of the first leg. 

“Gibbo and the staff have studied Bravo hard since the draw was made. They have done a lot of tactical analysis and watched numerous games and clips in order to come up with a game plan in which we feel can give us the best possible chance of playing well and grabbing a result on Thursday.”

While the Nomads have had to say goodbye to a number of star names from last season, there has still been some superb business completed in the transfer market to strengthen the squad. 

Edwards’ lifelong friend Ben Maher joined the club in June, along with Elliott Dugan, Chris Marriott, Anderson Pinto and George Ratcliffe. 

Edwards and Maher have known each other since they were just 11 years old. Classmates in school, academy teammates and key names within Neil Gibson’s infamous Prestatyn Town squad, the midfield duo’s friendship has always been strong, and now it is time to write a new chapter together at The Nomads. 

On Maher’s arrival, Edwards said: “We are good friends on and off the pitch, which always helps. He has been managed by Gibbo at three different clubs now, so he knows his expectations and how he wants the team to play. 

“It is no surprise he has come in straight and hit the ground running. He has a lot of experience at Cymru Premier level and has key strengths in the midfield area, which will be great for us to utilise this season.”

The Nomads will do everything in their power to gain a positive result in Slovenia on Thursday, but whatever the result is, one thing is for certain with Connah’s Quay – the fans will cheer them on from start to finish. 

Ever since their first ever European fixture – a 1-0 win over Stabaek in Norway in 2016, The Nomads have represented themselves and the JD Cymru Premier with pride, but making the fans proud is also something close to the club’s heart. 

Edwards used The Nomads’ JD Welsh Cup final win in April as a prime example to show how the town of Connah’s Quay comes together when memorable victories come around. 

“Our fans have always been brilliant,” said Edwards. “Just look at the Welsh Cup final. As always, the fans will certainly give us that extra boost we need. 

“Last year’s result in Iceland was difficult to overturn in the home leg, so this time we know we need to improve. We are fully focused on Thursday and getting a result in Slovenia, which we know would put a smile on the face of our fans back home. We hope to see many of them at our home tie, so we can turn last year’s disappointment into delight for them.”

Learn more from FA Wales

Sign up to receive all things FAW, from team news, tickets, domestic, grassroots, to exclusive offers and prize draws.

We respect your privacy and are committed to protecting your personal data – view our privacy policy by clicking here.