My heart says Billy Barr isn’t really in the running for the permanent post at The Racecourse, and is in for a rough ride as he looks to turn things around and make his case.But my head is trying to put a counter argument. If the task he faces is challenging, that means he has a unique opportunity to defy logic and grasp the opportunity.
I admit that this argument flies in the face of the obvious. Fortunes have hardly been conspiring in Barr’s favour: after a first match as caretaker boss away to the runaway leaders he now faces another away trip, made without Dave Artell, Jay Harris, Brett Ormerod and Elliot Durrell. With two away games in the next three the fixtures seem to be colluding against him.
The nature of Andy Morrell’s departure makes the promotion of his assistant to the job seem unlikely, as do the positive noises Don Bircham has been making about the calibre of applicants for the vacancy. It’s clear that Barr’s most likely fate is that of sacrificial lamb: he absorbs the failures of a demoralised squad and creates a clean sheet for a new man to inherit. That might even accentuate the impact of a new face, making the fabled new manager bounce more likely.
I’m also not convinced the board will be keen to opt for continuity, and plenty of vocal fans will feel the same, which actually makes those upcoming games I mentioned an intriguing possibility. Barr’s hand is stacked against him but he has one crucial advantage: he’s the man in possession. Admittedly, that means he be rule out with a string of poor results, but it also means he is in a unique position to show he can organise and motivate this group of players.
Professionals in the game, as long as they are in a positive frame of mind, will see a tough run of fixtures as an opportunity to show what they can do. Barr has a chance to make a compelling case for himself, even if everyone assumes we’ll be looking elsewhere for a new manager.
Although the upcoming matches are predominantly on the road and look threatening, a glance at current form suggests they might be the sort of games we could get something out of. Hereford, who we play again in two and a half weeks, are in trouble both on and off the pitch, Kidderminster have won one in seven, Grimsby haven’t won in five and Braintree simply haven’t played since the Reformation. Then it’s Woking, who have won three out of nine, and at home to Salisbury, who’ve lost four of their last five away games.
Hardly the most intimidating of line-ups, and don’t forget that looming on the horizon is an away derby at Chester. Topping off a run of good form with victory at The Deva would endear any Wrexham manager to the fans, and a caretaker manager can force a board reluctant to appoint from within to reconsider with the sheer weight of his results. Ask Andy Morrell!