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Adran Premier: Newly promoted Wrexham not there 'to make the numbers up'

Wrexham insist they are "not here to make the numbers up" ahead of the new Adran Premier season.

The season gets under way on Sunday with newly promoted Wrexham hosting Swansea City.

The game at Rhosymedre's Rock Stadium completes Wrexham's recovery since the team was forced to fold in 2016.

"We've got aspirations for this year, we are not here to make the numbers up we are here to compete," Wrexham midfielder Hannah Keryakoplis said.

Last season the Dragons secured promotion with victory over Briton Ferry Llansawel in a play-off after securing the Adran North title.

"We are going to be the underdogs in lots of way but I know there's a lot for teams out there that want to play Wrexham and want to beat Wrexham, we've got to make it as hard as possible for them," Keryakoplis, 29, a former Wales international, added.

Swansea City have a point to prove, having been champions of the Adran Premier for three consecutive seasons before missing out to Cardiff City last year.

That second-place finish, along with two early exits in cup competitions, led to the club's first trophy-less season since 2013-14.

Swans winger Chloe Chivers, who missed the start of last season due to injury, said: "I'm looking forward to getting back on the pitch. It has been a long-winded one for me, I'm looking to go back in to the season injury free.

"For us personally it is picking ourselves back up and bettering ourselves from last year, setting that benchmark, something that we want to aim towards every single year."

Cardiff City went undefeated last season as they claimed not only the league but also the FAW Women's Cup.

"Last season was really good but this season we are hoping to do the treble and win as much as we can," midfielder Seren Watkins said.

The Bluebirds start their league defence away to Cardiff Met off the back of a difficult Champions League campaign.

"It was a massive test but has given us a lot of motivation to hopefully do the same as last season this year and we can be there again next year," Watkins added.

Wrexham, Swansea and Cardiff have all entered a new semi-professional era, being the first clubs in the Welsh women's pyramid to award their players with semi-professional contracts.

Cardiff Met finished third last season, their worst finish since 2010/2011, and forward Erin Murray knows how important the opening game is for her club: "The season opener is massive for us.

"Cardiff had a great season last year, so for us it is to really showcase what we are about and show that we are in this league to compete."

Other fixtures include The New Saints' travelling to the UWS Sports Park to play Pontypridd United.

The New Saints squeezed into the top half of the table last season, holding their own against the league's traditional heavyweights and ending the season with back-to-back wins against Swansea City and Cardiff Met.

TNS midfielder Nicole Samson said: "Last season was a really good season for us, the season before we were battling relegation and then last season we made top four.

"It's a statement to the rest of the league that we deserve to be here, this season we want to do the exact same but more."

Pontypridd will be hoping to build on last year's fifth place, according to defender Holly Broad: "We were disappointed with missing out on the top four last season, so a big aim for us is to try and get in to the top four."

Last season's bottom two will meet at Park Avenue as Aberystwyth take on Barry Town United, and both teams will be wanting to improve on last year's results.

Aberystwyth defender Fiona Evans said: "Last year was a bit of a disappointment, we are aiming for that fourth and upwards again and challenge the big teams, that's the aim."

Barry striker India Shanahan, meanwhile, says the ambitions are "try our best to do as well as we can and hopefully we could see Barry in the top four".

Best season yet?

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) head of women's and girls' football, Lowri Roberts, believes this season is going to be the most competitive yet.

"There's an extra edge this year because many of the clubs have introduced semi-pro contracts and many of the clubs have appointed full-time members of staff to oversee their women's football programme," she said.

"The game is going to get so much more competitive because of the hours the players and clubs are putting in.

"There's been a lot of interesting change in Swansea, everyone is talking about Wrexham but Swansea is a club going through quite a big transition. They've made a number of great signings this season, they are going to be ones to watch.

"It is going to be really competitive, everyone has been talking about TNS as the dark horse, so watch this space."

Matchday 1 - Sunday, 17 September

Aberystwyth Town v Barry Town United

Cardiff Met v Cardiff City

Pontypridd United v The New Saints

Wrexham v Swansea City