TALENTED forward Kristian Pierce was the shock name to be released by Rhyl as they announced their retained list for next season.
The highly-touted youngster endured a difficult campaign with injuries that halted what was a promising career to date, which has seen him emerge as one of the brightest prospects anywhere in the region.
Now he is no longer part of Niall McGuinness’ plans, reporter Dean Jones examines the possible landing spots for Pierce as he looks to get his career back on track:
The newly promoted Seasiders were dealt a blow with the news that top scorer Jordan Davies announced he would not be signing an extension, and they now have to fill the void left by the man who fired them back to the promised land.
While bringing Pierce into the fold would be deemed as a risk to some, he has shown that on his day he is more than capable of making an impact in the WPL, and with experience of playing in a number of demanding positions his versatility could come in handy
Neil Gibson’s squad are an ambitious group and Pierce would fit in seamlessly.
The hometown hero enjoyed a phenomenal spell at Central Park under Richard Williams-Cooke, where he was an instrumental figure in the club’s promotion to the Huws Gray Alliance during their double winning season.
He followed this up with an even better stint in the second tier, where his goals and overall outstanding play led Town to a third placed finish under Gareth Thomas.
Although they struggled at times last term, the future at the club looks bright once again under the guidance of Eddie Maurice-Jones, who has restored belief in the squad as they look to bounce back to prominence.
Bringing Pierce back into the squad would be a huge shot in the arm for the side, who harbour ambitions of reaching the Welsh Premier League for the first time in their history in the not-too-distant future.
Despite losing nearly all their firepower in the January transfer window, Port still finished in a very respectable fourth spot, which gives them plenty of optimism for the upcoming campaign.
The likes of Meilir Knight came in and performed well but adding the pacey Pierce would give them a different option and his availability is something the club should take very seriously.
The former Welsh Colleges forward is a proven goalscorer at HGA level and his presence in the Port squad would make them instant contender in what is expected to be a hotly contested race for promotion.
After comfortably avoiding relegation in their first season back in the second tier, manager Chris Williams now has lofty ambitions for the club as they look to avoid second-season syndrome.
Acquiring defender Mike Sharples from the Lilies is a real statement of intent from Town, who have limited resources but have built up a sensational team spirit mixed with the perfect blend of youth and experience featuring players primarily from the area.
Both Williams and Sharples know Pierce well and know what he is capable of on the pitch, and Ruthin could well be a surprising yet viable option for the player as he looks to prove that McGuinness and the Lilywhites made a mistake in letting him go.