PAUL RUTHERFORD insists Wrexham will thrive on the pressure of being National League leaders.
Wrexham went top of the table for the first time this season after beating Solihull Moors 1-0 at The Racecourse on Tuesday.
A third win in a row leaves Wrexham two points ahead of Dover Athletic, who surrendered top spot after losing at Dagenham and Redbridge, and Macclesfield Town.
Although Wrexham are now there to be shot at, it is something that Rutherford will relish.
“The main thing is we have gone top of the table,” said Rutherford. “We ground out three points.
“We cherish being top of the table. It is not going to weigh heavy on us and we take nothing for granted.
“That is where this town and this football club deserves to be, challenging at that end of the table.
“Now we are top and people are chasing us, it is a great position to be in.
“It is something you have got to enjoy and relish. I would much rather be feeling the pressure of being top of the table than spells in my career where I was in the bottom four at Southport.
“It is a much better pressure than that pressure.”
The last time that Wrexham were fifth tier leaders was in March 2013 and Rutherford believes the Reds are well equipped to handle being table toppers with the likes of Shaun Pearson, who are used to being in that position, in the squad.
“You have got to enjoy it,” said Rutherford. “There are pressures that come with playing for this football club anyway.
“There are expectancies from the fanbase, backroom staff, everyone, and that is the pressure you have got to relish.
“I wouldn’t say it is a weight on our shoulders, definitely not.
“The likes of Sam Wedgbury and Shaun Pearson have been there and done it, they are used to being in these areas of the league and it is something you enjoy.”
Rutherford, brought in from Southport in the summer of 2016, scored the goal that sunk Solihull.
Twice on target last season away from home, it was Rutherford’s first goal at The Racecourse for Wrexham and he was delighted to end the drought.
“I was over the moon to score, it is something that has weighed on my shoulders,” said Rutherford.
“Scoring at The Racecourse for the first time is a little monkey off my back.
“As soon as it went in I realised straight away it was my first goal at The Racecourse and it is something I have been relishing to do.
“It was a difficult finish and I am happy with it.”
Rutherford found the net with a well placed lob after goalkeeper Nick Townsend was stranded off his line after attempting to punch a cross clear.
“It has probably played into my favour that I didn’t have to think too much about it,” said Rutherford.
“It was just an instinctual finish and if I am being honest, I did pick out that spot.
“I thought that was the area where I need to get it back over the goalkeeper and put it away from the defender that was getting back to the line.
“It was weird, the whole ground seemed to go quiet. I don’t know whether they were expecting a foul or just shocked I’d scored!”
Wrexham will defend top spot and aim to make it four wins in a row away at sixth placed Aldershot Town on Saturday.
“It is a tough game, a tough place to go,” said Rutherford. “Aldershot are a good side and hard to play against but I think they will look at us and think we are hard to play against as well.
“It should be a good test for us against a side doing well themselves and we will be looking to build on three positive results.”