In the month that has followed the departure of Scott Ruscoe as TNS boss, speculation has been relentless about who would fill the Park Hall hot seat and on Good Friday JD Cymru Premier fans received their Easter gift as the man to take charge of the former champions was named.
Step forward Anthony Limbrick, the new chief tactician who will be hoping to lead TNS on a Phase Two charge to the top of the Welsh game once more. We caught up with the new manager this week to find out more about his excitement for the role.
“It’s going to be such a busy format so there will be twists and turns along the way, but we’re really only going to be focussing on our own games and not worrying about anybody else.
“I know I have to hit the ground running but I think it is exciting. Who wouldn’t want to come into a job three points off the top of the league with two games against the top side to come? That’s a great challenge, it is really positive, and I’m very grateful for that.
“We want to carry on with what we’ve been doing in the last few weeks as a minimum, playing good attacking football, being on the front foot, scoring goals, and adding to it as we go. We want to be an aggressive team, but it won’t be too much different – I just want to add value to the good work that has already been done.”
“The vision of the club … I love that ambition.”
The ambition of the powers that be at Park Hall knows no bounds, and Limbrick confessed that this was one of the key components behind his attraction to this role, as the 13-time Cymru Premier champions have had their sites set on European group stage qualification for some time now.
Discussing what he labelled as an interesting challenge, the Australian discussed what factors in particular made him want to join the Cymru Premier juggernauts.
“One of the things that attracted me to this role is how it is such an interesting coaching challenge. This is a team that has been very successful, won so many trophies over a sustained period and going into these last 10 games three points off first place, which is a situation TNS haven’t been in too often in recent years at all.
“Having been here for two or three days it has been fascinating to spend time with the players, because they are of a very good quality and I’ve enjoyed these early experiences. I will obviously want to make my own impression on things, but there’s a lot of good work that has been done already all around the club and I’m excited to be here.
“The vision of the club, how the team plays and the philosophy certainly lines up with my own. Putting everything together, when I spoke to the club about the role we were very much on the same page, but also their ambitions for the future and progression in Europe. I love that ambition and I want to do my best to implement that in the long-term and short-term.”
“There are winners all over this club.”
In our season preview at the start of the term, you may remember TNS talisman Leo Smith discussing at length how hungry he as a new signing was to help the Park Hall club reclaim the title from Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Limbrick added in our interview with him that this hunger had been obvious in his early exposure to the club as well, whilst discussing the return of a key playmaker who has impressed the new manager thus far.
“The attitude of the players has been fantastic, they’ve taken on board what Chris and I have wanted to implement. They’re certainly hungry to get TNS back to where we belong and push on – there are winners all over this club and many have been here for a long time.
“It has been great to see Ryan Brobbel back in training, he has been impressive in training over the last couple of days and shown his quality. He had a great game on Friday night, not just for his goal but his clever link play and he was one step ahead of not just the opponents but our own team at times as well, it was fantastic, so I really enjoy watching him playing.
“He deserves a lot of credit for how he has gotten himself back into shape, as well, after an injury like that. You can struggle with your timing and your rhythm after being out for so long, but he has got straight back into it and I’ve been impressed with him so far.”
“It is clear to see the league is improving a lot.”
As a newcomer to the JD Cymru Premier, Limbrick joined the ever-growing list of individuals who gave plaudits to the top level of domestic football in Wales for the game’s growth and development in recent times, as he elaborated on particular attributes that stand out for him.
“I’ve watched a lot of games in preparation for the role – not as many live as I would have liked, but I’ve watched a lot of TNS games back from this season and previous years – and I think it is clear to see the league is improving a lot.
“I’ve got a few contacts in Wales as well that I’ve kept in touch with over the years from clubs I’ve worked at and from the Pro License and so on, so I wasn’t coming into it blind but I am keen to learn much more.
“There are good teams here and I think there’ll be no tougher game for us than this Saturday, if I’m honest, against Bala. I’ve seen their games and they’re a good side, Venables in particular is a very good player and I think they’ll be a strong test for us. There’s a good physicality about the league, every manager has a Pro License, so I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen.”
You can watch Anthony Limbrick’s first game in charge of The New Saints live on S4C’s Sgorio this Saturday evening as the former champions hope to begin their title charge in Phase Two with three points. Colin Caton’s Bala Town stand in their way – it’s set to be a super showdown, so don’t miss out on the action live on S4C at 5:15pm.
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