Ashley Morris, Bala Town’s goalkeeper is “Very excited by the draw” against FC Levadia Tallinn. (Tuesday 2nd July).
He told the Welsh Premier League’s Official website:
"I think we can and should expect progress but it’s about knuckling down, working hard and keeping discipline in order to stand a chance.”
Bala Town were playing parks football 10 years ago in the Wrexham Area. It’s a true footballing fairy-tale when a town of 1600 inhabitants reaches European football for the first time and Ashley Morris is very pleased to have been a part of history.
“Of course I’m very proud and excited to have played a part in helping Bala achieve European football. Representing Bala in Europe will generate huge local pride and we all want to use that pride to help put Bala on the map”
Since the end of the season, Lee Hunt-Bala’s top scorer and Jon Irving - the man whose goal against Port Talbot ensured Bala’s qualification into Europe, have since departed the club but Morris expects other players to step up:
“It’s a huge blow, I voted John as my player of the season and obviously Lee scored a lot of goals so we’ll miss that quality up front but it’s made us tighter as a group of players and the players Colin’s bought will strengthen us. I’m sure other players will step up and show that we won’t miss them as much as people think”
Bala’s Estonian opponents FC Levadia Tallinn have played 16 games thus far in their season but Morris is pleased with how Colin Caton’s Lakesider’s have prepared for their big hour.
“Colin’s training the players hard and I’m sure he’s done his homework on our opponents. If we play well from the off, keep disciplined and organized and keep our concentration we can do it but obviously towards the latter stages of the game the match fitness might tell.”
The fact Morris is now a father for the second time makes him determined to make his family proud and have stories to tell them and possible tell his grandchildren:
“My children will be walking onto the pitch with me and as a child I walked on to the football field with my dad and you don’t realize how far you’ve come. There will certainly be good stories to come from the experience and something to tell in years to come and stories my children can tell their friends.”
If Bala progress Ashley thinks it would be a huge boost to Welsh Premier League football and the way it’s perceived by the media
“Even if Bala don’t progress I think it will still bring a massive difference in crowds at Bala just because we qualified for Europe. Any progression for any of the Welsh clubs will definitely change perspectives about the League, especially by the Media and nay-sayers, it will put Welsh Premier League football on the map and prove there’s more to Welsh football than Cardiff and Swansea.”