As March begins to come to a close, we get into the stage of the season I like to call “Cliché Season”, where all managers come out with the saying “every game is a cup final”.
But for Wrexham it really is, which is so odd, as for a club in 17th who aren’t going up or down this season you wouldn’t consider them to have much to play for. But with a new manager and just five players in contract at the end of this season, it literally will be 7 cup finals.
It will be no surprise that the Wrexham squad have had a hectic time as of late, last week saw a 2-0 win over Hereford United on the Tuesday be followed by caretaker manager Billy Barr departing the club after two years at the club, working as assistant to Andy Morrell. The day after of course was the day everyone was waiting for, where new manager Kevin Wilkin was revealed.
Wilkin’s first training session was conducted on the Friday ahead of a 1-1 draw with Salisbury City last weekend, not the expected result but a draw to a side 6 places above you would normally be considered a decent result.
But after finishing in the play-offs and losing in the last 10 minutes in the Final last season, a bottom half of the table season is more than disappointing, and in the last press conference of Andy Morrell, he stated that all players were playing for a contract, with just 5 players still with the club this coming summer. Of course two days later Morrell was gone, but the same goes with Kevin Wilkin, he will full well know that the squad is playing for their futures.
Having spoken to some fans in the recent weeks, they have commented on the contract situation, opinions have ranged from keep one or two (main keepers being Coughlin, Clarke and Tomassen) to scrap the entire squad!
So the fans feel let down, it’s now up to the most important man to make the decision along with the board, Mr Wilkin needs to make a decision on who he wants in his squad next season. The players will have 7 cup finals now to show the manager what they can do. But it isn’t just playing well that will keep them at the club, it’s being the best. As this summer there will be cuts, the 5 players in contract aren’t safe as Kevin Wilkin told me after the Salisbury match that he is looking to bring in a few players in the summer, which sounds like he has got some ideas already and has had them for some time.
The loan market closes on Friday and it will be interesting to see if anyone comes in between now and the end of the week. If Wilkin does have ideas of players to bring in, he could bring them in on loan and see how they hold up for the club before signing on a permanent basis, such as Dave Artell did last season, coming on loan before being signed last September.
With an extremely busy April coming up, six games in four weeks couldn’t have come at a better time for the Wrexham squad who can have plenty of games to impress the new manager, including the Cross-Border Derby against Chester on the 19th.
So expect to see a lift in performances at the Racecourse and away for the rest of the season, as if anything will lift the players and show signs of passion, desire and determination it’s the thought of being released if they don’t play well. These are the things which fans have complained about not seeing this season. Arguably one player who has fitted the criteria of lacking the three qualities, Rob Ogleby chased down every ball and look like he really wanted it and showed a really keen attitude, maybe too keen as he was caught offside four times on Saturday.
His apparent desperation to show the manager what he can do should be mirrored by the rest of the squad for the remainder of the 2013/2014 season, as we look forward to the new era of Wilkin’s Wrexham.