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KEN McKenna admits Saints need to step up a gear as they look to consolidate pole position in tonight's trip to NEWI Cefn Druids at Plas Kynaston (7.30pm).
Despite winning their first four games to move a point clear at the top, the TNS chief stressed there was still plenty to work on after witnessing his side's 3-3 draw in the league cup against Connah's Quay Nomads in midweek.
Although McKenna's men progressed to the last eight courtesy of their two-goal lead from the first leg, he admitted it was a below par performance.
"We're not quite right at the moment. We're playing OK but we need to pick it up quickly," he said.
"Injuries are not helping us but Connah's Quay showed great character, scored some good goals and never gave up. They worked harder than us."
Defender Jimmy Aggrey has been a notable absentee with a neck problem while fullbacks Martin Naylor and Chris King have also been struggling.
Nicky Ward is the latest casualty with a hamstring injury.
Despite holding pole position, which his side squandered dramatically last term, McKenna warned his troops face a stern test tonight.
"There's a lot of work to be done and we can't take anything for granted," he said.
"We don't need to be reminded of what happened to us last season."
Druids go into the encounter on the back of a determined display at Rhyl in the league cup in midweek.
Despite losing 3-2, boss - and former Saint - Steve O'Shaughnessy was more than happy with what he saw.
"We were the better team on the night and were disappointed not to get a result," he said. "If we play like that every week, then we'll certainly be up there in the table. We know we're a good team but we need to be more consistent."
Experienced campaigner Aled Rowlands could be included following a foot injury while Alex Stacey, cup tied in midweek, also returns.
O'Shaughnessy is relishing a chance to take on the league leaders, adding: "Every time we play them it's close and it would be nice to get one over on them."
19 September 2021
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