THE versatility of Nathaniel Knight-Percival has persuaded Dean Saunders to make him Wrexham’s first new signing ahead of the 2010-11 campaign.
Knight-Percival will sign a one-year contract after Wrexham agreed a nominal fee with Blue Square Premier rivals Histon for the 23-year-old midfielder.
Having turned down the offer of a new deal at Histon, Knight-Percival has signed a pre-contract agreement with Wrexham who he will link up with after making his final appearance for the Stutes against Barrow on Saturday.
A product of the Histon youth system, making his first-team debut in January 2005, England C international Knight-Percival has been a key member of the Stutes squad and regularly contributed with goals.
Operating with a smaller squad next term because of a reduction in his budget, Saunders is pleased with the acquisition of the versatile Knight-Percival who will meet his new team-mates early next week.
“We have had to pay a small fee for Nat because it was going to a tribunal,” said Saunders. “Nat can play in a number of positions which is what I need with us tightening our belts.
“Left midfield, centre midfield, even up front and at left-back, he is versatile. He played in four different positions in the four games I watched him.
“As I will have less players next season, at least he is someone who can play anywhere on the left.”
Saunders believes Knight-Percival, at Histon on a part-time basis, will be a valuable addition to his squad next season.
“Nat has experience in this league, is very good in the air at six-foot, gets goals and is still only 23,” added Saunders.
“Nat works hard, is brave and will put his head in. Technically, I have got something to work with, and who knows how he will react to full-time training.
“But he wants the chance to come and play full-time and he is the type of player I feel will do well for us.”
Meanwhile Saunders was disappointed with the defending that allowed Oxford United to snatch a late winner in last night’s clash at The Kassam Stadium.
Oxford, guaranteed a place in the play-offs, scored in the 82nd minute when left-back Kevin Sandwith headed Damian Batt’s cross past keeper Chris Maxwell.
But Saunders believes Sandwith should not have been allowed to get a header in at goal.
I was pleased with the performance first half, Oxford did not look like scoring and Chris Maxwell never had much to do,” said Saunders.
“Oxford hit the crossbar and we had our opportunities to get goals.
"But I brought Wes Baynes on for Adrian Cieslewicz and he has just let the left-back get above him far post. There was not enough determination and the lad has headed it in the corner after we had worked so hard.
“All of them worked their socks off and worked hard. But Wes has let the lad get a header in so to say I am annoyed about that is an understatement.
“I can’t fault the effort and I thought the performance was great."”
Substitute Baynes came closest to equalising but his injury time free-kick somehow failed to cross the line after it was initially saved by Oxford keeper Billy Turley.
And Saunders bemoaned Wrexham’s inability to score enough goals this season.
“We got a free-kick, Wes struck it great, it hit the goalkeeper’s arm, hit the inside of one post and the inside of the other post, and came out,” added Saunders.
“If we had got the draw we would have deserved it.
“Second half they had a lot of ball in front of us but I always thought we could break away and score a goal, and that was the plan.
“But we have not scored enough goals this season and not enough players have stood up and showed enough determination to get on the end of things.”
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