Whoever takes over the Racecourse hotseat will have one very obvious major task to crack on with: convincing Mark Carrington to sign a new contract. Whatever shape the new Wrexham side takes, clearly it will benefit if he’s a part of it.
What part is difficult to say. Carrington gives the lie to the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” by looking equally proficient wherever he’s asked to play. A midfielder for most of his career, he has stepped in at right back seamlessly, his pace and positional sense allowing him to do the defensive part of the job and his natural comfort on the ball making him highly effective going forwards.
He’s also played in the centre of midfield, and looked a very composed playmaker. To be honest, that was the role I assumed he’d take up next season, with the right back position reinforced and Carrington allowed to take a central role in the side.
However, his performance at Hereford has offered a third alternative. He was very advanced on the right in the first half, setting up one goal and twice being thwarted by superb saves after he’d got into the six yard area. In the second half, when we had to dig in to secure the points, his position was much deeper, but of course this played to his strengths as he sat in front of the right back.
The problem is that people will be watching his performances, and in convincing Carrington to stay we’ve lost a key advantage: the Morrell factor. It was clear that Carrington hoped to stay in the Football League in the Summer, and only committed himself to us because his options had closed in that direction. He’d clearly built up a working relationship with fellow ex-Bury man Morrell and that helped to ease his decision to fall back on a stint in the Conference. But clearly his sights are set higher than a mid-table fifth tier side, and his form will attract interest from clubs who can offer him more than we can.
What happens in the coming weeks will be crucial to ensuring Carrington sticks with us. A manager who can outline a clear plan for an immediate tilt at promotion and make Carrington feel that he will be valued as a central part of that campaign is needed to ensure we hang onto a player who has become perhaps our biggest asset.