NEW Bala Town FC signing Dave Edwards says having the opportunity to 'tick playing in Europe off his list' was a 'big pull' for him in making the decision to join the club.

Having finished third in the JD Cymru Premier last season, the Lakesiders have once again qualified to play in the early qualification rounds of a European competition.

This time around, they will play in the inaugural Europa Conference League with the draw to be made at 1pm on Tuesday, June 15.

Midfielder Edwards, who was unveiled as the club's latest signing on Thursday, June 10 said that, along with playing in the JD Cymru Premier, was a 'big pull' in his decision to sign on at Maes Tegid.

In an exclusive interview with the Denbighshire Free Press, he said: "I've been following the league (JD Cymru Premier) for awhile from a distance, since the days Caersws were in it.

"I had already made my mind up towards the end of last season that I didn't want to be carrying on playing full time. Playing in this league was the perfect fit for me in terms of the schedule and the travel.

"I spoke to quite a few clubs but Bala really stood out for me. There's a great squad here who should be pushing for the top two next season. I've never played in Europe before either so having the chance to tick that off my list is going to be really special for me. We all can't wait for the draw."

35-year-old Edwards has made more than 600 league appearances between Luton Town, Wolves, Reading and two spells with Shrewsbury Town.

He’s also played in the top five divisions of English Football, from the National League right up to the Premier League, in which he spent three seasons with Wolves.

Edwards also scored 70 times during his footballing career, including on three occasions for Wales with whom he earned 43 caps between 2007 and 2017.

At Bala Town, he will be reunited with two former Shrewsbury Town academy stars in Chris Venables and Steven Leslie.

Edwards with Bala Town manager Colin Caton. PIC: Bala Town FC

He said: "I'm very good friends with Steve and we have stayed close over the years. Venners is someone I did my education alongside at Shrewsbury so it's nice to have some people I already know at the club. But, I know from having already trained with them that they're all a nice and friendly group at Bala.

"It will be great if we can push for that top two in the league next season and I'm sure new additions will help narrow the gap. The main aim is to compete for everything and qualify for Europe again the season after."

Edwards represented Wales at the 2016 European Championships, where they got to the semi-finals after a heroic 3-1 win over the number 1 ranked side Belgium. He then retired from international football in 2018.

Looking ahead to Wales' Euro 2020 opener v Switzerland, when asked who he thought could stand out for Robert Page's side in Group A, he said: "Everyone obviously has all eyes on Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, but I'll go with Daniel James on this one.

"I've watched a lot of Wales matches with working with the media and I have to say he's been a real standout. He's got consistency, he's finishing better since going to United, he's got that raw pace and he'll help get Wales up the pitch as well.

"I really think he's the player who can make the difference for Wales."