End of Term Report Part Four

The defence stood up to scrutiny last season, but how did the engine room fare?

Midfielders

Dean Keates

deankeates7Once again, the skipper ran through the pain barrier for the club and he remains a totemic figure in the centre of the pitch. At the heart of everything, he sets the passing tempo and leads from the front, playing with a fire which complements Jay Harris’ combatie style. This was summed up in the FA Trophy Final, when he ran thr game.

His importance was also illustrated when we returned to Wembley and Keates had to try and put in another performance despite the series of pain-killing injections he’d been receiving through the last month of the season. It was a game too far for him, and as he faded from the game, our hopes faded with him. Keeping for next season, and keeping him fit, will be uppermost in Andy Morrell’s plans. 7/10

Jay Harris

jay-harris-02-43207-336386_478x359[1]Like Keates, you know what you get with Harris, and also like Keates we paid at Wembley for the fact that he was tiring by the season finale. He scored a screamer against Barrow, smashed in a crucial winner at Hereford and was as spiky as ever in the heart of midfield. Getting him to commit to a new contract was a major achievement by Morrell. 7/10

Joe Clarke

joe_clarke_5Undoubtedly the revelation of the season. Nobody arguing when Clarke was only offered a six-month contract this time last year as in his first season he’d looked like a distinctly vanilla midfielder, steady but not spectacular. He lacked opportunities at the start of the campaign, playing second fiddle to Johnny Hunt, but once he got a chance he grabbed it with both hands.

Clarke’s confidence seemed to soar and all of a sudden he was a different man. Having previously looked most comfortable when playing it safe in front of the back four, he blossomed into a formidable all-round midfielder. Soldi defensively and tidy on the ball, his passing range seemed to develop and his energy and physical presence helped us to win the ball high up the pitch. Decisively, his surging forward runs began to pose a real threat and his remarkable goal at Alfreton was a highlight of the season. 8/10

Kevin Thornton

kevin_thornton_1If he can stay fit, Thornton looks like being a terrific acquisition. A talented midfielder, his impressive scoring and assist ratio showed that he didn’t flatter to deceive but actually delivered. But injuries are the issue which must concern everyone at the club: we had to wait a long time before we got a chance to see what he could do in the first team and he broke down before the climax to the season: if he’d been available to ease the burden on Dean Keates in the play-off final things might have turned out differently.

Still, he made history as the first Wrexham player to score at Wembley and his continued presence at Wrexham is an incentive to recruit the type of intelligent ball-playing players he naturally combines well with. 7/10

Glen Little

glen-little-goal-02-43207-355350_478x359[1]A tricky campaign to evaluate for a genuine cult hero. Wrexham were undoubtedly the better for having him around, mainly for his impact off the bench but also as resident court jester and changing room character. However, he could only manage one start in the whole campaign, in the meaningless match at Mansfield.

Still, he did make some trademark appearances as a sub, most crucially at home to Hyde and Mansfield, and his impact wasn’t limited to creative play as he could also help us hold onto a lead with his superior ball retention, as he showed at Hereford. Despite his lack of pitch time, he’s established himself as a club legend. 6/10

Jay Colbeck

image-9-for-wrexham-fc-v-lincoln-city-gallery-171030557[1]A similar season to last time for Colbeck: he looks like a real talent, but with such a strong midfield to choose from Andy Morrell had the luxury of easing Colbeck in slowly once more.

Neat on the ball, deceptively strong and dangerous in and around the box, he once again showed a promising ability to pop up with goals and is clearly a good finisher. Next season looks like being an important one for him as he tries to make a more substantial impact on the first team. 6/10

Robbie Evans

robbie_evansEvans was rewarded for his fine form in the youth team with a run in the end of season friendlies and impressed massively.

The has been a buzz around him for a while and he showed why with a series of composed performances, showing he is equally at ease in a holding role or pushing further forward. Admittedly the match at Mansfield showed that there is still development to come, but he has shown a precocious confidence and needs to be handled with care. 7/10

Tomorrow: The strikers

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