Wrexham AFC all set for first pre-season friendly against Lex

Reporter:

Richard Williams

DEAN KEATES  plans to give all  first-team players a run-out in tonight’s opening pre-season friendly against Lex Glyndwr at Stansty (7pm).

Keates has made wholesale changes after Wrexham finished 13th in the National League last season and only five players – Chris Dunn, Mark Carrington, Leo Smith, Paul Rutherford and first year pro Olly Marx – remain in the ranks.

Nine new signings have arrived at The Racecourse and fans will get a first chance to see Christian Dibble, James Hurst, James Jennings, Shaun Pearson, Manny Smith, Sam Wedgbury, Jack Mackreth, Marcus Kelly and Chris Holroyd in a Wrexham shirt against the Welsh National League Premier Division outfit.

Keates still has a few spots left to fill in his squad before the new campaign kicks off on August 5 and is set to complete the signing of a striker who has agreed to join Wrexham before this evening’s game.

“The players will be training in the afternoon before the friendly and it will just be a case of getting some minutes under their belt against Lex,” said Keates.

“Is is very much a training session for us to get more minutes into the players.

“All the players will be involved, the new signings. We will split it up and there will be two teams fielded.

“There will be no more than 45 minutes played for each player.”

Another striker who impressed while training with Wrexham last season has arrived on trial and will feature against Lex, with some youth team players also involved.

“We have got a couple of trialists marked down and we will be topped up with  the youth team,” said Keates. “We will give some youth team players an opportunity to stake their claim.

“As we showed last year, there is a pathway at the football club for them to go on and form a career.”

Keates is hoping a decent crowd will attend the first pre-season friendly.

“It is local and it is a chance for the fans to meet the players,” added Keates.

“All being well it can be a good turnout for Lex, they get some supporters through the gate and get a decent crowd.”

Left-back Jennings, who joined Wrexham on loan in January and made the move permanent when he was released by Cheltenham Town at the end of last season, can’t wait to be back in action.

“It will be nice to have a football match,” said Jennings. “It seems quite a long time ago since we played at Eastleigh.

“There is nothing better than playing games and it will be good to play with the new players.

“We are all looking forward to it and all the pre-season games coming up.”

As well as the changes in playing personnel, coach Carl Darlington has also returned to hometown club Wrexham for a second spell.

Darlington left TNS to become part of manager Kevin Wilkin's coaching team at Wrexham in December 2014.

Appointed caretaker manager after Wilkin was sacked, Darlington was not kept on as part of new boss Gary Mills' backroom team and exited The Racecourse in May 2015, later rejoining TNS.

Jennings, older brother of former Wrexham captain Connor, is looking forward to working with Darlington.

“I have heard lots of good stuff about him,” added Jennings.

“Connor told me about him. He is very meticulous in the way that he works on the technical side and being organised.

“That is something we will look at getting right. If you are going to compete and want to be successful, they are the sort of things that you have got to be prepared with and make sure that you are organised.

“It was Carl’s first day on Friday, I met him for the first time and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Admission tonight is £5 for adults, with accompanied children free, and there is free parking at Stansty Park.

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