BALA Town football club manager Colin Caton says the club ‘is all as one’ as it prepares for a return to the Europa League qualifying rounds in 2020/21.

The Football Association of Wales’ (FAW) decision to curtail the 2019/20 campaign sees the Lakesiders finish in third place in the Cymru Premier table.

It also means that Caton’s side will compete in the early stages of the UEFA Europa League competition once again, after a year out.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Bala Town have enjoyed a great season.

Speaking to the Bala Town media team, a delighted Caton added: "When the news came out officially that we’d qualified, we were really happy because we just didn’t know which way it was going to go. We felt if we had to restart the season after lockdown, we’d have been in a great position to push on from third spot."

Caton added a word of thanks to coaches Steve Fisher, Ryan Valentine and Harri Lloyd, as well as other committee members for their hard work during the season.

He was also quick to praise supporters and gave a special mention to midfielder Danny Gosset, who had been battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma before being given the all-clear in January.

Caton added: "We are getting ready now for the European trip whenever that may be. We’re in talks with all the squad and we had a toast on a zoom call on Monday night for all the team to just have a little drink and pat everyone on the back for a good season with us qualifying for Europe.

“We aren’t just a team on the field but a team off it too - with the committee, the supporters and everybody who wears the Bala Town badge, we are all one so I’d like to thank everyone who’s been involved with the club for their time and effort over the season and I’m glad we’ve had our just rewards.

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Commenting on club captain Chris Venables (above) receiving the top-flight's Golden Boot award after scoring 22 goals, Caton added: "It's great news for Chris as he’s been outstanding this season as he has done for every season that he’s played for us but he’s obviously stood out a lot this year in terms of his goalscoring ability and the change of position which he’s adapted to very well.

“We spoke to Chris last summer about the possibility moving into an advanced position to get goals, we felt that he needed moving a little bit higher as we were a bit deeper as a team and Chris couldn’t get into the box as quick as what we wanted him to.

"Chris’ goalscoring instincts was always going to create him a lot of chances, his movement, his work throughout the week for his precision game, performances has been absolutely fantastic. He’s a top player with a top attitude he just doesn’t turn up to training, turn up to play games, he works throughout the week in preparation for training and he works throughout the week in preparation for his game and that is what I’d tell any young kid is to follow Chris Venables’ workrate, attitude and approach if they want to get on in the game. He just doesn’t turn up to perform, he works through the five days prior to the training and the games and he’s been absolutely outstanding” he commented.

Colin continued “Chris will be the first to tell you that it’s not an individual award it’s a team reward, we were 20 goals off less than what we conceeded before Christmas that paid dividens that if you are not conceeding and you are obviously going the other way, you create more chances and not just the back four, Josh did well as a goalkeeper and Ashley Morris aswell who’s been with us for a number of years.”

“The midfield and the forward line too, the chances aren’t scored if they aren’t created so if we don’t get crosses into the box and give him the supply he needs then it’s impossible for anybody to get the goals. For me Chris is obviously taking the chances and has scored some superb goals this season but it is a team reward and Chris would be the first to say that. They are a close knit group, we all are it’s a massive achievement and once Chris got awarded it this week, he was first to put in the groupchat that is was a massive achivement for all of us and he hasn’t achieved it on his own and thanked the lads. That’s the calibre of Chris and the calibre of the group. We are really happy for him as he’s critical of himself at times as he works so hard and there’s fine lines between success and failure. When everyone comes back in, Chris will at it wanting to forget what’s gone, knuckle down and make sure his preparation is right for the forthcoming season. I’d like to congratulate him but also the group on helping Chris achieve that goal, it’s a combined reward but well done to Chris on that” Colin finished.