TNS feasting from Sharp attack

Chris Sharp is poised to fire The New Saints FC to the Welsh title, 25 years after his father Graeme famously spearheaded Everton to the English championship.

Chris Sharp celebrates his hat-trick against Haverfordwest
Chris Sharp celebrates his hat-trick against Haverfordwest ©The New Saints FC

A quarter of a century after Graeme Sharp fired Everton towards the English title, the former striker's son Chris is performing a similar service for The New Saints FC across the border in Wales.

Sharp Jr's hat-trick in last weekend's 4-0 victory against Haverfordwest County AFC means that another three points in their final league fixture against Aberystwyth Town FC on Saturday will make them champions once again. The champagne may flow even earlier if Llanelli AFC fail to win both their games in midweek, as the Park Hall club will then be unassailable in first position on 79 points.

"It's in our own hands and we knew going into Saturday's game that two wins in our last two fixtures would make us champions," said Sharp. "I would have taken any sort of victory but to win 4-0 and to score a hat-trick was pretty pleasing.

"I joined TNS [from Bangor City FC in January] to win things and if we do clinch the title in my first season that will be fantastic," added the 23-year-old. "I'm loving it here - everything about the club is first class. I knew a few of the lads before and they always said how good it was so I wasn't really surprised."

Should TNS be crowned champions for a fifth time, no one would begrudge Sharp his success. A promising career has twice been interrupted by serious injury, first a broken leg in a UEFA Cup tie while playing for Rhyl FC against FK Sūduva in July 2006 and then a broken arm playing for Bangor 14 months ago.

"With the leg it was a clean break, but the fact that it happened in Lithuania was a complication," added Sharp, who has scored 23 goals this season. "I was out for just about 17 months in all and it wasn't nice. In both cases it was all about getting used to something again that you hadn't used for several months."

It was helpful that his father, who avoided serious injury until late in his career, could help him through the tough times. Naturally, the former Scottish international has been a big influence on his son's career. "If he says I've had a good game I know I've had a good game because he's been there and done it," added the Liverpool-born striker.

"I'd be stupid not to take note of what he says. People will always make comparisons, but we're different players really. He won't mind me saying that I'm more direct than him and use my pace more whereas he was a target man and a very good link-up player, as well as someone who scored a lot of goals."