NEW assistant manager Tony Pennock says a massive match is in prospect at Park Avenue when Aberystwyth Town take on relegation rivals Rhyl on Friday, with both their Welsh Premier League futures at stake.
Aber’s crucial 2-0 win at Llandudno on Sunday sees the Seasiders two points clear of second-from-bottom Rhyl, with two games to go, and a home win would secure Aber’s survival, and relegate the Lilywhites.
Any other outcome would take the relegation scrap to the last game, with Aberystwyth facing a tough trip to seventh-placed Newtown, whilst Rhyl would play hosts to Llandudno, with the chance of relegating Aber.
Pennock was appointed as assistant manager last week to ensure that the club met the domestic licence criteria, after being informed that interim manager Wayne Jones’ qualification as an A Licence coach had expired.
Pennock, who has a Uefa Pro Licence qualification, had held the position of First Team Coach at Premier League Hull City until January 2017.
After joining Hull City as academy coach in 2014, he was promoted to first team coach under former boss Mike Phelan, but was released three months later when the Tigers installed Marco Silva as their manager.
The former goalkeeper, who played for Farnborough, Stockport, Wigan, Hereford, Yeovil and Rushden and Diamonds, said he was very optimistic that Aber can avoid relegation.
“Even without today’s result (at Llandudno) Friday was always going to be a massive game,” said Pennock.
“We’ve done ourselves justice today by getting the three points, and we can go into the game against Rhyl knowing that we can get something.
“We’ll work hard this week and make sure that we are prepared.
“It’s always a lively place at Aber on a Friday night. Hopefully people will come and support the boys, and then we can look forward to next season.”
With Rhyl securing a last-gasp 2-1 win over bottom side Airbus on Saturday, to relegate the Wingmakers, the pressure was on Aber to lift themselves back out of the drop zone.
Pennock, the former Port Talbot and Wales Semi-Pro manager, was delighted with the performance of his side, to end a six-match winless run.
“The lads were outstanding” said Pennock. “Wayne (Jones) had spoken highly of them, and they showed me just what he had told me all week.
“They are a great bunch of boys. Even in the warm up I could see the quality that we’ve got in the squad.
“To be 1-0 up against the wind was great. But they dug in in the second half against a strong Llandudno team and came strong in the end to get the second goal and take the three points.
“I can’t remember our keeper having to make any top saves, but he did what he had to do very well. In terms of clear chances they didn’t have any.
“You can pick the 11 players, but the lads who came on did well as well.
“All the players dug in and did the job in the end, and it was a full team effort, which was very pleasing.”
Interim manager Wayne Jones was equally proud of his side’s win, but it is still only half a job done for Aber.
“It was a solid performance today, the game plan worked well, and full credit to the lads - but attention now turns to Friday night,” Jones said.
Skipper Luke Sherbon has completed his three match ban, following his recent sending off against Newtown, whilst Dylan Rees was released last week to play for a club in Sweden.
Aber beat Rhyl 4-0 on the first game on the new 3G pitch last October, having lost 3-1 at Belle Vue in August, and having drawn 2-2 there in March.