If Anthony Limbrick didn’t acknowledge it at the time of his appointment as The New Saints head coach, he will have certainly acknowledged it by now. That is, he has been dealt an ace card in fit-again Ryan Brobbel.
Limbrick has inherited an elite squad relative to the Cymru Premier and their aspirations of domestic dominance, but it is Brobbel who has rapidly emerged at the forefront of their bid to win back the league title.
The attacking midfielder has recently returned from a lengthy injury lay-off and his availability has coincided perfectly with the appointment of The New Saints boss and his bid to win back the league title from rivals Connah’s Quay.
Brobbel’s season is still in its infancy after a knee injury left him sidelined for six months and requiring surgery. Yet, he’s been in scintillating form since his return, managing eight goals in four appearances – an average of a goal every 32-minutes.
Prior to his recent return, Brobbel’s last appearance in a Saints shirt was back in September when an innocuous collision playing against Cardiff Met resulted in a knee injury that proved more serious than initially anticipated.
“I’d never had a long injury before so I was going into the unexpected,” he says reflecting back. “I didn’t think it was that serious until a week or two after, we got it scanned on the third week and they said they’re going to have to operate.”
“The operation turned out worse than what I thought as they didn’t think it was as bad as it was, and it turned out I had to get a full repair, so I’d gone from being off for six weeks to four or five months,” he told the official club site.
After months of recovery, Brobbel’s return was finally complete when his season resumed three weeks ago with a full second-half appearance against Flint Town. With The New Saints in complete control with a 4-0 lead, Brobbel needed little time to make his mark, taking just taking just six-minutes to find the back of the net.
“I wasn’t expecting it to come that quick, but I was confident in my ability to create something or score,” he said after the game.
Since then Brobbel’s rich vein of form has continued and his key role in successive wins and clean sheets has helped ease Limbrick into the Park Hall hotseat.
In his second game, Brobbel completed 81 minutes and scored twice in a 4-1 win over Caernarfon with caretaker Christian Sergeant’s final game.
His next game marked Limbrick’s first in charge and it was Brobbel’s deft finish that ensured his new manager got off to a winning start with a 1-0 win at Bala Town.
Tuesday night proved to be Brobbel’s most spectacular yet as he fired in four goals against Barry Town in a sparkling 60-minute display before being withdrawn to be preserved for tomorrow’s clash with high-flying Penybont.
“I’ve scored a few hat-tricks at TNS but I’ve never scored four in my career, and it was just nice to help the lads win the game.
“Penybont have been doing well recently and beat Connah’s Quay so they’ll probably be looking for another scalp against us.”
Limbrick has just eight-games remaining to mount his challenge for the league title, two of which against Connah’s Quay. And on his current form, who would bet against the four-time Cymru Premier champion finishing the season with a fifth title?
JD CYMRU PREMIER WEEKEND FIXTURES
Friday: Aberystwyth v Flint; Saturday (all 5.15): Bala Town v Caernarfon Town, Connah’s Quay v Barry Town, The New Saints v Penybont (live on Sgorio), Cefn Druids v Cardiff Met, Newtown v Haverfordwest County.