Welsh Premier League split 'improves standards' - New Saints boss

Craig Harrison
Craig Harrison was forced to retire in January 2003 after breaking his leg whilst playing for Crystal Palace

New Saints director of football Craig Harrison believes the Welsh Premier League's mid-season split strengthens the competition.

The league was reduced to 12 teams ahead of the 2010-11 season with the competition splitting into two groups of six midway through the campaign.

Current champions Saints go into this weekend's opening round of second phase matches as league leaders.

"It's improves the standard," Harrison told BBC Radio Shropshire.

"It's strengthened the Welsh Premier League on the pitch.

"You've got to be on your mettle every single week, home and away. Every part of the season there's something to play for.

"It's also exciting at the bottom because three seasons ago Bala finished in the bottom half and they went on a fantastic run and they qualified for Europe through the play-offs."

Saints begin the second phase of the season in the Championship Conference on Friday at home to Gap Connah's Quay.

Connah's Quay are the only team to have beaten Saints in the league this season, winning 2-0 on the final weekend of the first phase on 16 January.

Welsh Premier & non-League round-up