Adaptability is key to promotion bid says Wrexham FC manager Dean Saunders

WREXHAM manager Dean Saunders believes adaptability could be the key to a successful promotion campaign, thanks to a diverse squad that enables him to pick horses for courses.

Although the Dragons were left frustrated by a 0-0 draw at Altrincham last Saturday, they bounced back to good effect in the Bank Holiday meeting with Bath City and emerged 2-0 victors against opponents who had won their previous four away games.

Helped on their way by their first penalty in 32 games – converted by Gareth Taylor – Wrexham wrapped up the points through a first club goal for substitute Mathias Pogba, but Saunders reckons it might have been a different story last season.

“It’s unbelievable that we hadn’t had a penalty in 32 games,” he said. “But maybe it’s because referees come here and are determined not to be intimidated by the crowd and the management here and don’t want to be seen as being weak.

“But we have had more blatant penalties (disallowed) than this one and hopefully we will get a few more now.

“This time last year the outcome of the game might have been different because teams come here to try and quieten the crowd after 20 minutes and make people nervous.

“Now we have a different approach, so if teams sit back we have to be able to put balls into their box. If sides want to sit back and we have Gareth Taylor in our team then they are playing a risky game.

“We’ve got that option now or we can try to play through teams and we can go down the outside as well, which Curtis Obeng and Neil Ashton tried to do.”

A nine-match unbeaten run will be put to the test this weekend when high-scoring Grimsby Town visit the Racecourse, having netted 13 goals in the last two outings, and the Dragons boss, who has already lost defender Marvin Andrews to a pulled hamstring will be hoping to conclude a permanent deal for fellow centre half Mark Creighton, whose loan spell from Oxford United ended after the Bath game.

“I’m hoping to (do a deal),” said Saunders. “We might get a few hiccups there because he’s earning good wages at Oxford and it’s a case of whether we can afford to keep him. I don’t know, but hopefully we can.

“I think he likes it here and he can see that we have a good team and that we are going the right way.

“He played 40 games for Oxford last year and got them promoted so he would be a great signing for us.”

Strikers Andy Mangan, Marc Williams and Pogba were among the goals yesterday as a Wrexham XI won 4-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Tranmere Rovers, the visitors also giving run-outs to Jamie Tolley, Nat Knight-Percival and Kevin Gall.

But Christian Smith, back from a loan spell at Newport, missed out.

Saunders, who expects a decision today from Williams on his future plans, said he was disappointed that Smith didn’t have much match action during his time with the South Wales club, but hinted he could be on the move again.

“I’m a bit disappointed he was not given many opportunities at Newport, but there has been a bit of interest in him,” said the Dragons boss.

“Obi Anoruo, meanwhile, is to stay on at Vauxhall Motors.”

l WREXHAM’S outstanding home game with Altrincham has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 1 (7.45pm).