How are you feeling? Excited? Nervous? Try not to worry too much: Saturday’s game is an exciting hit to nothing. It’s a chance to start the revolution early.
It’ll be tough. Dagenham and Redbridge are in magnificent form, and if the season lasted another couple of weeks I suspect they’d capitalise on their fine form by getting into the play-offs. While last weekend’s results mean they have nothing to play for on Saturday, they’ll be keen to sign the campaign off in style in front of their fans.
Faced with this challenge, Wrexham’s players have a chance to restate their value, to show that they can be trusted to play a part in our long term future. I hope they can do so, because there’s a lot to admire in a group which Dean Keates recruited on the basis of their character as well as their talent.
For me, a root and branch revision is not necessary: sprinkling some stardust on the squad, in terms of adding three or four high quality additions, is what is required for success.
Whatever happens on Saturday, this squad should be applauded. They have constantly shown real fighting spirit, coming back from behind to claim points, including 2 remarkable 3-2 away wins after being 2-0 down at the break.
For a side that was derided for lacking attacking punch in the opening half of the season, they have developed into a genuine attacking force: remarkably, we’re the fourth highest scorers in the division, outscored only by the top three.
That has been achieved despite a catalogue of attacking injuries You don’t need me to remind you of the problems we had before our Good Friday trip to Notts County, when we were down to 2 strikers, lost one of them in the first half hour, and then had to recruit from a highly restricted market.
The problems began before then: Jordan Ponticelli’s season has been ruined by injuries, but he’s starting to regain his sharpness now, If he’d not broken down in pre-season and been forced to play catch-up all season, we would surely have packed more of an attacking punch in the opening portion of the campaign.
It would be fantastic if we could go up this season; the plan is to start work next year with a strong budget and a chance to tilt at the title. To sneak up this year, ahead of schedule, would be a remarkable bonus, and would mean Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney would have been given a glorious head start.
Money set aside for a rebuild could be used in a different way, and as well as the promise of an exciting project and potentially good wages, players would also be tempted to join us by the fact that we were a Football League club: the stigma of being “Non-league” would be removed.
It would also mean that clubs would be willing to loan us a better quality of player. One of the striking immediate effects of relegation into the Conference was how top level sides were no longer willing to send us promising youngsters on the fringes of the first team. Instead, they would send young lads that they probably didn’t think would make it.
To illustrate this point, we got the likes of Mark Wilson, Terry Cooke and Lee Roche from Manchester United under Brian Flynn, but our best loan signing in our first Conference season, Ryan Flynn, while a fine player, was never close to making a first team breakthrough at Liverpool.
I’m getting ahead of myself. We need a result on Saturday or we’re not even in the play-offs. But it shows how this Saturday is an opportunity, a shot to nothing, a chance to gain a reward the team and management deserve, and a chance to kick-start an exciting period of our history a little early.