DEAN SAUNDERS has revealed that midfielder Kristian O’Leary is close to agreeing a new deal – but defender Aaron Brown has rejected his contract offer.
O’Leary and Brown joined Wrexham on short-term deals in March after successful trials and the duo both played the final eight matches of the campaign.
Having impressed during the run-in, both were offered new deals by Saunders who is optimistic O’Leary is ready to commit himself to Wrexham for another season.
“Kristian has more or less agreed but we are still not done and dusted,” said Saunders. “There are a few loose ends we have got to come to an agreement on but Kristian wants to sign.”
Former Bristol City, Swindon and Lincoln left-back Brown also arrived on trial after his contract at Sincil Bank was cancelled by mutual consent earlier this year.
And while Brown has turned down the offer of a new contract, Saunders is hoping that the 30-year-old will make a U-turn.
“We could not afford to keep Aaron,” said Saunders. “I made Aaron an offer and he has refused it.
“I would like to keep Aaron but I have to manage my budget sensibly.”
Having made over 300 appearances for Swansea City in a spell lasting nearly 15 years, O’Leary, 32, parted company with the Championship outfit in February.
Saunders is eager to bolster his midfield after releasing Hedi Taboubi, Mark Jones, Nathan Fairhurst and Silvio Spann, and he has already signed former Peterborough man Dean Keates while Christian Smith has agreed a new deal.
“Kristian did very well last season for us and is the type of player we need,” said Saunders.
“Having him and Dean for in the middle would be great, and Christian has re-signed, so hopefully I have already got three midfielders.”
Saunders is also close to tying up a deal for former Shrewsbury Town and Chester City left-back Neil Ashton.
A free-agent after the demise of Chester, 25-year-old Ashton began training with Wrexham earlier this year following a hernia operation and played in a handful of reserve team games during his trial.
Ashton had been offered a month-to-month contract until he proves his fitness.
“Neil has agreed to sign when he comes back off his holidays,” said Saunders.
“Neil had an operation on his groin and I need to make sure he is okay. It will be a month to month contract until he can prove his fitness.”
As well as the acquisition of Keates, Saunders has made two more new signings.
Centre-back Chris Blackburn helped Aldershot Town reach the League Two play-offs this season but he has penned a two-year-deal, while the versatile Nat Knight-Percival, predominantly a left-sided player, has arrived from Histon.
“Nat can play in a few positions, best anywhere down the left,” said Saunders. “We have got to get a couple in like that who can play in different positions.”
The addition of a number of strikers remains a priority to address last season’s poor goal scoring record and Saunders is also looking to sign a second goalkeeper after Sam Russell turned down a new contract in favour of joining former club Darlington.
Saunders is also hoping to bring in a right-sided midfielder and is keeping tabs on a player at a rival Conference club.
“I have got to get someone for on the right and hopefully this one will come off,” he said.
“But I am speaking to players all the time, lots of them.”
While he is looking to bring in more fresh faces Saunders is waiting to hear if centre-back Ashley Westwood and striker Gareth Taylor accept new deals with slightly lesser terms.
Striker Wes Baynes was initially released last month but Saunders has had a change of heart, offering the 21-year-old a new deal.
“Wes has agreed terms which is good news,” added Saunders.
- The first deadline for 2010-11 Wrexham FC Season Ticket renewals will be extended by seven days following an initial delay in supporters receiving their renewal application forms.
Instead of existing season ticket holders having until the end of May, they will now be able to return their forms up until Monday, June 7 and still receive their maximum discount.
Supporters who have yet to return their forms can do so at the club shop every working day between 9am-5pm, or on Saturday’s from 10am-3pm.
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