Wrexham FC kick off new season at home

Reporter:

Nick Harrison

WREXHAM FC will kick off their Conference campaign at home on August 14 looking to complete a hat-trick of opening day wins.

They hammered last season’s champions Stevenage Borough 5-0 in their first ever foray in non-league football two years ago.

Last season they battered Eastbourne Borough 3-0 and Cambridge will be next up when the Conference curtain opens in six week’s time.

Wrexham supporters will again be confident of a decent start to the campaign and, as ever at the start of a new season, there is a new found optimism following some of Dean Saunders’ summer acquisitions.

Midfielder Dean Keates, centre back Chris Blackburn and the return of former goalscoring legend Andy Morrell, have   re-ignited enthusiasm that this could be the season to see Wrexham regain their Football League status.

Saunders has compiled a lengthy list of pre-season friendlies – including the visit of Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool on July 21 – as the Reds prepare for what Saunders has himself described as a ‘make or break’ season.

The bookies rate Wrexham at 16/1 to finish first and at 8/1 to win promotion via the play-offs.

Luton Town are 13/8 to lift the Conference trophy with Martin Foyle’s York City and relegated Grimsby Town also tipped to do well this season.

And Wrexham will travel to Luton’s Kenilworth Road ground on the final day of the season in a game that could be so crucial to both teams.

There are plenty more teams ahead of Wrexham in the pre-season odds, including Welsh rivals Newport County, whose game with Wrexham at The Racecourse will definitely be switched to Sunday, March 27. The Reds away clash at County is on September 4.

Not that Saunders is taking much notice of the odds: “I don’t look at them and I don’t think many managers look at them to be honest,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if you are favourite or second favourite at this stage, it is all about having confidence in your team and going from there.

“A good start can change everything and it really doesn’t matter what odds we are. Any manager has confidence in their side and a good start and a few wins can really help.

“There are a lot of good teams in the division but we will be concentrating on ourselves.”

The Cambridge home game on August 14 kicks off a busy first week. Three days later they head to Forest Green Rovers – a game striker Andy Mangan will be relishing against his former club. On August 21 they face the long haul to Eastbourne.

Other dates to look out for are a testing Bank Holiday trip to Bath City on August 30 while Altrincham will provide the opposition on Boxing Day (at home) and at Moss Lane on January 1.

Opening day Conference fixtures: Crawley v Grimsby, Darlington v Newport County, Gateshead v Kettering, Hayes v Bath, Histon v Barrow, Luton v Altrincham, Mansfield v Forest Green, Rushden v Fleetwood, Southport v AFC Wimbledon, Tamworth v Eastbourne, York v Kidderminster.

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