New signing Jonathan Franks looking to make his mark at Wrexham AFC

Reporter:

Rich Williams

JONATHAN FRANKS has set his sights on helping Wrexham clinch promotion and earning himself a longer contract.

Franks was released last month by Hartlepool who were unable to extend his deal due to a transfer embargo imposed on the troubled club by the National League, and he has joined the Reds until the end of the season.

Wrexham went top of the table after beating Guiseley on Saturday and Franks wants to help the Reds stay there and impress on the pitch.

“Hopefully between now and the end of the season we can achieve something really good here,” said Franks, who can play up front or on either flank. “We are at the top now, the aim has got to be to stay there and put pressure on the clubs in and around us. We have got a statement to make here.”

Franks, who returned to Hartlepool for a second spell in the summer after spending two seasons at Scottish Premiership side Ross County, bagged six goals in 20 league games for Pools before his contract ended.

The 27-year-old has also played for Middlesbrough, Oxford and Yeovil, and feels he has a lot to offer Wrexham.

“I know from playing against Wrexham they have got an experienced bunch already but hopefully I can add a little bit more experience,” said Franks.

“Hopefully we can push ourselves over the line and be in contention.

“I will bring hard work, hopefully a little bit of quality and chip in with a few goals and help others.

“But ultimately we need to get the results on the pitch.”

Franks jumped at the chance to come to The Racecourse after speaking to manager Dean Keates and former Pools team-mate Nicky Deverdics, who completed his move to Wrexham last week.

“My contract ended in mid-January and was unable to resign because Hartlepool are not allowed to sign anybody so here I am,” said Franks. “Dean picked up the phone and made me feel wanted so I came straight down.

“I spoke to Devs, he had just signed and he said it is really good, the gaffer is really good and I will enjoy it, so I took his advice.

“It is a good set of lads, all the people are really friendly and made me feel welcome straight away.”

Cash-strapped Hartlepool, where Franks first played between 2012 and 2015, are seeking new investors and he hopes there are better times ahead for his former club.

“It is exciting to come to Wrexham but it is disappointing what is going on at Hartlepool at the moment,” said Franks. “It is really sad because it is a really good club and they have been good to me over the years and I have enjoyed my time there.

“It was a shame I couldn’t stay but these things happen and I am sure they will get sorted sooner rather than later.

“I have to move on because I am not allowed to stay there and Wrexham made me feel wanted, so I had no hesitation to come.”

Keates, who has been targeting a fourth frontman, was delighted to land Franks.

“He knows this level and has played at a higher level in League One and in the Scottish Premier League,” said Keates. “It gives us options, he can play either wide position and down the middle.

“From watching him and playing against him this season, it was a plus when we played at Hartlepool and realised his contract was terminated and they couldn’t get him in.

“He is lively, bright, plays on the shoulder, he is direct and commits people and was their leading goalscorer so he is a plus for us.

“He is a great addition to the squad and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Keates managed to land Franks despite interest from a Scottish club.

“I have been after him since the opportunity arose at Hartlepool,” said Keates. “He had the opportunity to go to the Scottish Premier League.

“He has gone up there and had a look but one of two things kept being changed on him. I have kept in touch with his agent and just before the weekend the team up there were asking for longer so I just jumped in the middle.”

Loan striker Scott Quigley, who missed the weekend win at Guiseley due to a hamstring injury, is making good progress.

“Scott isn’t a million miles away,” said Keates. “We caught it in time, Blackpool have had a look at him as well and they are happy with how things are going.

“We will push him as much as we can this week and see how it goes.”

Midfielder Mark Carrington is also sidelined with a back problem.

Email:

rich.williams@nwn.co.uk

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