One thing a team always needs as title contenders is a strong depth in the squad. In the past few months Wrexham have come a long way to adding to that squad with many new additions such as Steven Leslie, Rob Ogleby, Danny Alfei and Stephen Wright. When Wrexham crashed out of the FA Trophy at the hands of Hinckley United, questions were raised about the depth of the squad. The team against Hinckley was effectively the second string team and they didn’t look up to much as they lost to the Blue Square North side. Steven Leslie was Morrell’s first signing of the January transfer window and brought some class to a midfield that needed strengthening after the sale of Lee Fowler to Fleetwood (the less said about that the better!)
On deadline day again the club sold a key player, losing Curtis Obeng to Swansea where he joins Neil Taylor as two Wrexham players to make the step from the Blue Square Premier to the Premier League. Morrell moved fats to bring in Danny Alfei on loan from Swansea to replace Obeng until the end of the season, as well as bringing in striker Rob Ogleby from Hearts.
With an injury to Danny Alfei, and little cover at right back, Morrell brought in experienced defender Stephen Wright to cover the right back hole in the team. Stephen Wright’s home debut against Luton was the first time I had seen him play and I was very impressed with his solid performance that went some way to Wrexham coming out with a vital 2-0 win against the Hatters.
As well as the new signings, it is the other players in the team that have been providing the strength in depth of the team. With centre Back Mark Creighton out with a hamstring injury, Chris Westwood had to step into a defence that had been solid all season long. After a torrid time against Hinckley back in December, Westwood seems have found his feet, with a very solid performance against Luton, winning vital headers and reading the game very well.
So to the Barrow game, a game that was always going to be difficult and the players in focus were Steven Leslie, Chris Westwood and Stephen Wright.
Chris Westwood yet again had to step up to the task of filling in for the injured Creighton and early on lost a couple of headers. But he then began to win his aerial battles as he grew into the game, making some good interceptions and playing some good long balls to feet. His tackling was solid in the first half as he tackled Hone. His first time cross to Danny Wright was superbly weighted, but Wright’s header was spectacularly caught by Pearson in the Barrow goal. After a free kick was launched into the Barrow area, the ball fell kindly to Westwood but his weak header was saved by Pearson. It was a relatively quiet second half for the centre half, with the only major action from Westwood a half volley he had just outside the six yard box which was saved by Pearson.
Stephen Wright was looking to continue his good form after impressing against Luton and his long throws have become iconic and they threatened throughout, with chances falling to Danny Wright and Speight. Wright won his challenges well against Chris Turner as well as winning his aerial battles. His long balls were a bit wayward but after he broke through into the Barrow area, his shot was saved Pearson and the follow up by namesake Danny was cleared off the line. Again there was another quiet second half for a Wrexham defender, with Wright doing the simple things right and linking up well down the right hand side when Cieslewicz came on.
Steven Leslie had a quiet first half, until he had a claim for a penalty when he appeared to be tripped, nothing given though. He tackled well though, getting back to help Ashton regularly as well as creating chances going forward. The second half proved more eventful for Leslie, straight away in the second half sending a through ball to Speight whose shot was agonisingly wide. His wing play was fantastic as he got forward and beat his man as he rinsed Smith only to see his cross caught by Pearson. Again he got forward as he went on a dribble but his deflected shot was caught by the Barrow goalkeeper.
So some impressive displays from the men in focus, proving that over the recent months, Wrexham’s strength in depth had dramatically improved. Again it is to be tested as Danny Wright looks to serve a four match ban for a alleged stamp on Hone. Wrexham however ran out 2-0 winners over Barrow, goals coming from Danny Wright in the first half, and Jake Speight in the second.