Wrexham FC boss Dean Saunders praise for on-loan defender Mark Creighton

ON-LOAN defender Mark Creighton is a prime target for Wrexham manager Dean Saunders when the transfer window opens next month.

The 29-year-old Oxford United player has yet to be on the losing side in the four outings he has made since joining the Dragons midway through November, but his short-term deal expires at the end of the year.

Creighton, who appears to be surplus to requirements at the Kassam Stadium, has a year to run on his contract with the League Two club and Saunders knows he faces a battle to retain the big man’s services.

Yesterday he said: “Mark is a good lad, who has fitted in really well and has done well in the games he has played. At this level of football he is ideal for us.”

Acknowledging that Oxford would probably seek a fee were Creighton to leave, Saunders has a weak hand, but is determined to explore every avenue in a bid to keep the defender at the Racecourse at least until the end of the current season.

“To bring in good players in January you need to be able to buy them really,” he added. “I’m talking to people all the time and talking to the (Wrexham) directors in terms of what we need and what we can afford.

“I’ll be talking to Mark and his agent, to my chairman and to (Oxford manager) Chris Wilder, who will also need to talk to his chairman, so it’s a bit more complicated than might be the case with other players.

“There will probably be other clubs interested in signing Mark, but in an ideal world I’d like him to stay so I’ll try to come to some sort of arrangement that suits everyone. I think the lad likes it here, he believes we are going in the right direction and I think I can help to improve him as a player.”

The Dragons boss was more circumspect about a future at the club for former Wales under-21 striker Marc Williams, who will be out of contract at the end of the month.

A goal-scoring sensation during Saunders’ first season with Wrexham until he broke a bone in his foot, Williams then endured two years of frustrating injuries and was sent out on loan in August to Kidderminster Harriers.

Since his return to the Racecourse a month ago, the fit-again striker has had little opportunity to impress the Wrexham boss, having been restricted to just one outing – ironically against the Harriers nearly a fortnight ago.

“I am sure there are clubs that would want Marc Williams and we’ll have to make a decision on him soon,” said Saunders. “If we’d been able to play games that would have helped his case, although he has had one and he did well.

“But at the moment I will cross that bridge when I come to it.”

Following the postponement of last Saturday’s Blue Square Bet Premier match at AFC Wimbledon, which has been re-arranged for Tuesday, February 22, the Racecourse boss is anxious to salvage something from the Christmas programme, even though the Boxing Day home game with Altrincham already appears very doubtful.

“It’s not looking good for the weekend, but we have to prepare as though the game is going ahead,” he added.

“Some of the players won’t have played for a month, but at least we have been able to maintain our training on the artificial pitch, which is an advantage we have over some of the other clubs.”