Craig Harrison targets JD Welsh Cup trophy and unbeaten domestic season with The New Saints

Craig Harrison is no stranger to the managerial role at The New Saints, but even he hasn’t seen anything like what they’ve done this season.

Last season saw the Saints only lose one league game, but now they are one match away from completing an unbeaten domestic season.

After going so close last year, Harrison saw this year as an opportunity, and has been overjoyed at the job his potential history makers have done all season.


JD Welsh Cup final tickets

“We only got beat once last season, and that was away to Cardiff Met in phase two. We thought it was a realistic thing for us to try and do [to go unbeaten].

“We’re all about trying to improve on and off the pitch, and that was an improvement we wanted to make. We talk about goals scored, goals conceded, wins, all of those small things that build up to the end product, and we have improved in all of them.

“The bigger thing is that we only drew two of the 32 games. The high-profile teams who have done it before, like Arsenal, drew a lot of their games. The manner of how we’ve done it has been outstanding more than anything else.

“It was the last thing I said to the boys before they went out last Sunday. I’ve been at this football club for ten years combined. I’ve seen good players, we’ve won trebles, we’ve broke records, but there’s one thing the club haven’t done in any way, shape, or form, and that is to go a whole season without getting beat. It’s a chance for us to put a marker down in the club’s history, and these boys should go down in the history books as one of the best squads this club has had.”

Harrison himself has seen everything when it comes to the Welsh Cup too. A five-time winner of the competition, he’s experienced all the highs, as well as the lows.

However, when it comes to a prime memory, Harrison takes us back ten years.

“The most memorable one for me is when we beat Aberystwyth Town in 2014 at the Racecourse. We were two down at half-time; we didn’t start the game well and Aberystwyth certainly did. Then we come back out in the second half and win the game 3-2. 

“There was a lot of drama in the game, because we went in as heavy favourites at the time. To go two down but to come back and win made the day that little more special, because we were put in a difficult position.”

If the Saints manager is to pick up his sixth Welsh Cup crown, he has to get past his former employers, Connah’s Quay.

The Nomads and TNS have been involved in numerous close tussles in the past, and it’s going to be no different on Sunday, according to Harrison.

“It’s a huge test against Connah’s Quay, it always has been, and it always will be. They’ve got a good squad with good and honest players, a few of them which I signed in my time there. There’s others who have been there when they’ve won leagues and cups in the past, and they are a club and a team we have immense respect for.”

Whether it’s his first triumph or his sixth, the Welsh Cup is special to Harrison and so many others.

The romance, the drama, and the excitement of the cup are all things the manager enjoys, and he’s looking forward to another rollercoaster of a final on Sunday.

“The Welsh Cup is a competition I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve won it five times and it’s a really special trophy to lift. When you have a good look at it, you can see all the teams who have won it engraved and then the history of it dawns on you, because it’s a cup that’s been going for over 100 years. 

“The journey to get there is always different. Last year we won it, but Chirk took us to penalties in the first round. This year, we go a goal down against Briton Ferry. It just has so much excitement and drama and all those fairytale stories. It’s a massive game in the Welsh footballing calendar.”

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The Story So Far

The JD Welsh Cup from the qualifying rounds to the final

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