JAMES JENNINGS admits he always had his heart set on staying with Wrexham.
The left-back arrived on loan at The Racecourse in January from Cheltenham Town and helped the Reds climb clear of the relegation zone before finishing 13th in the National League.
Having already stated he would like to remain a Wrexham player, Jennings was offered terms by manager Dean Keates following his release by Cheltenham and the 29-year-old has penned a two-year contract.
Jennings is delighted to make the move permanent and extend his stay at Wrexham.
“I am buzzing and glad to commit myself at Wrexham,” said Jennings.
“As I said when I joined in January, it is a great club with great fans.
“Everything about the club is really good and I am delighted to commit my future here now for the next couple of years, kick-on and hopefully give the fans something to be proud of.
“Unless Manchester United came in for me I was always signing for Wrexham!”
Jennings, who played for Forest Green Rovers, Mansfield Town, and Cambridge United before signing for Cheltenham last summer, is happy he’s joined a club close to his home in the north west.
“I am glad to get it sorted. It has been quite relaxed the last few weeks,” said Jennings.
“Normally it is a bit of a panic every year to try and get something sorted, and this is the first time I have signed for a club close to home in about six or seven years.
“It is only up the road so I am delighted. I have really enjoyed my time at Wrexham since I came in January.”
After reaching safety in March, Wrexham endured a poor run-in as the Reds only won one of their final 10 games.
But Jennings, who saw younger brother and former Wrexham captain Connor lose in the play-off final with Tranmere Rovers against Forest Green at Wembley, is expecting a more productive 2017-18 campaign.
“There was disappointment towards the end once we secured a mid-table finish,” said Jennings.
“There was nothing to play for but that gives you the fire in the belly for the following season to kick-on, and try and achieve something.
“Watching the play-offs the last couple of weeks and going down to Wembley to see Forest Green and Tranmere, it gives you that fire in the belly to make sure you achieve something the following season.”
Wrexham are preparing for a 10th season in the fifth tier and Jennings would love to help the Reds win promotion and end their Football League exile.
“I know people have said in the past that they want to be up there and they have had the big expectations but I wouldn’t have signed here if I didn’t feel it that was something that we could achieve,” said Jennings, who won the Conference title with Mansfield in 2013.
“This will be the 10th season in non-league and I would love to be part of that team that could get the club back into the Football League.”
Keates is revamping his squad following the mid-table finish and Jennings is one of four new signings who have joined the Reds so far this month.
Defenders James Hurst and Shaun Pearson, and striker Chris Holroyd, have been brought in and Jennings is impressed with how things are shaping up.
“There are some great additions,” added Jennings.
“I know Shaun from playing against him; a great lad, a great player and I am looking forward to playing next to him.
“He has got a lot of attributes to add to the team, something that is going to help us.
“I know Chris well, Connor has played with him and he only lives around the corner from me.
“He is a great addition to the team, he brings lots of qualities and experience.
“It is really positive and I am sure it will only get better. There will be plenty more to come in with rebuilding the squad and adding to what is required for next season.”