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Football: Gap Connah’s Quay close in on promotion after securing domestic licence from FA of Wales

GAP Connah’s Quay are standing on the brink of a return to the Welsh Premier League – thanks to a season of hard work both on and off the field.

The Nomads will secure the Huws Gray Alliance championship this Saturday if they defeat Cefn Druids at Deeside Stadium (2.30pm).

Victory over the Ancients would go a long way to banishing memories of last season’s promotion heartache, when Nomads won the Alliance title but were subsequently refused entry to the WPL because they failed to gain a domestic licence from the FA of Wales.

Thankfully for the Deesiders, they managed to secure a licence at the first time of asking this week – meaning they will not be held back by red tape if they top the table this time around.

Boss Mark McGregor, who has a fully-fit squad to select from on Saturday, said: “When the season started, we wanted two things – to get a licence and to retain the title.

“We’ve got one of those things completed and now it’s down to the players to finish the job.”

Since 2010, all clubs in the WPL have required a domestic licence.

The licences are assessed annually and are wide-ranging, covering everything from youth coaching to safety certificates, club infrastructure and personnel.

Nomads’ failure to secure one two years ago led to their relegation from the WPL and they missed out again in 2011, with one of the sticking points being over the club’s failure to improve their floodlights before a certain deadline.

Nomads secretary Trevor Green, who returned to the club last summer having previously overseen successful licence bids at Bala Town, attributed this year’s outcome to a ‘dedicated and professional’ team effort.

He added: “We’ve learnt from the experiences of last year and everything has been professionally coordinated by the FA of Wales.”

Nomads were among a group of 13 clubs to be granted a domestic licence on Monday – 10 from the WPL and three from feeder leagues.

Flintshire clubs Buckley Town and Flint Town United were unsuccessful, along with Cefn Druids, who stand between Nomads and the league title this weekend.

The Ancients have knocked their Deeside rivals out of the Welsh Cup and North East Wales Cup this season, but lost to McGregor’s men in the league.

Nomads need another three points to be mathematically certain of the title.

There will be no post-match trophy presentation on Saturday if Connah’s Quay win the league.

This would take place the following Saturday after Nomads’ final game of the season at Penycae.

More Alliance news – page 87.