As we stagger edgily towards the play-offs, Dean Saunders makes a fair point as he complains that, unlike other managers at the sharp end of the Conference, he’s handicapped by his inability to bring in new players.
Just have a quick look at the Non League Paper from a couple of weeks ago for proof of the benefits of freshening up the squad: AFC Wimbledon’s manager, Terry Brown, attributed his side’s second wind on the arrival of ex-Wrexham triallist Kaid Mohammed from Bath. His goals and performances have enlivened a side which was expected to wilt as its small squad was stretched to the limit. Meanwhile, Saunders manages with his hands tied, unable to freshen up an attack which struggles to take chances.
So what can Saunders do in the circumstances? There are options available to him, although drafting in a goal poacher sadly isn’t one of them. I assume that’s the case anyway, as there’s a Wrexham player banging the goals in at the moment. Obi Anoruo is playing in the division below us, for Vauxhall Motors, and despite being in a team which is struggling at the wrong end of the table, he has fifteen goals to his credit. I assume we can’t recall him though: if he’s on a season-long loan then I believe one of the conditions is he can’t be called back.
There are other options at the club though. Marc Williams has hit two hat-tricks in recent weeks for the reserves, but remains outside the first eleven. At least he returned to the squad against Kettering, but I continue to be confused over his continued absence from the pitch. There have been some away performances lately when I’d have thought his spirit would have been valuable, and even if he isn’t accommodated in attack, he might have been given a run in midfield when Jordan McMillan, a decent player but to me a defensively-minded full back, was given the role of running box-to-box recently.
However, I also understand Saunders’ reservations to an extent. The way we’re playing at the moment might not suit Williams: with the ball spending a fair bit of time in the air, Gareth Taylor was a more obvious replacement for Mathias Pogba aerially, and although he lacks Pogba’s pace, Williams is no sprinter either. Wrexham’s long ball approach requires strikers who are either big or quick. As Williams is neither, it might be that his hopes of breaking into Saunders’ side are limited.