Wrexham’s Wes Baynes believes the pressure is on if he is to extend his stay at The Racecourse beyond this season.
Baynes was left in limbo when manager Dean Saunders announced his retained list with the former Liverpool and Wales international explaining that the Chester born ace would be released alongside the likes of Silvio Spann, Mike Williams and Mark Jones.
However, Saunders openly admitted that he wanted to keep Baynes if he could find space in his budget and eventually offered the 21-year-old a new 12-month deal.
And now Baynes, who together with the rest of the squad, was put through his paces in Llandudno yesterday, is ready to play himself into the first team reckoning and earn an extended deal.
“With it being a one-year deal I need to convince Dean to keep me, it is a pressure season for me,” said Baynes.
“Other seasons I have been on two-year deals and have had time but now I need to impress under pressure.
“It is a big season, I feel ready to prove myself and make a mark on the side. If I perform well and Wrexham perform well then we can both progress.”
Baynes and Saunders have not always had the easiest of relationships with the former handing in a transfer request 18-months ago, but that is water under the bridge and the Wrexham youth team graduate is delighted to be staying at the club.
“It’s always nice to be back,” he explained. “It was great when the gaffer phoned me up and said that he was going to offer me a contract.
“I had no hesitation in signing here again especially after a good season personally.
“It wasn’t nice when he told me the circumstances as to why he couldn’t sign me so it was great to get the phone call. I had calls from other clubs but it was great when Dean called.
“The other offers didn’t appeal as much to me, as soon as I heard Wrexham wanted me to sign it was a done deal. I didn’t really think about moving elsewhere.
“I have been here for years and wanted to stay. It wasn’t nice to be thinking about leaving the club but thankfully that hasn’t happened. It is good to be here for another year.”
Saunders hs worked hard in the summer to reshape his under performing squad, bringing in the likes of Kevin Gall, Andy Morrell, Nat Knight-Percival, Neil Ashton, Dean Keates, Chris Blackburn and David Brown.
As a result Baynes believes the club can prosper in their bid for promotion back to the Football League.
“The aim is to get promotion this season and hopefully that is what we can do, I haven’t seen any play yet but the lads that have been brought in are good players,” he said. “We need to be in the Football League.”
Baynes wants improve on his own personal haul of eight goals in 2009/10 and added: “I got eight goals and finished as second top scorer, most of those were as a sub as well so that is good and I am hoping for more of the same this season, more goals and more games.
“I am willing to play anywhere when needed though. I can’t wait to start playing matches again.”
The arrival of Morrell and Brown could put Wrexham’s other strikers - including Obi Anoruo - down the pecking order.
Onoruo began last season on loan at Welsh Premier League outfit Newtown but was recalled in December following injuries to Gareth Taylor and Marc Williams.
However, a series of postponed matches left a frustrated Anoruo kicking his heels, and the signing of Andy Mangan from Forest Green Rovers during the January transfer window meant his best chance passed him by.
“I started the season at Newtown, played some games and scored a few goals, and then the gaffer called me back,” said Anoruo.
“I was meant to be playing a few games but did not have the luck with the weather.
“I tried to get my head down and work hard but there were a few strikers in front of me, and the gaffer went out and bought Andy in January.
“I did not really get much of an opportunity after that. I came on as sub now and then but it is hard to impress when you only get five or ten minutes here and there.”
While he admits it is a big season for himself, Anoruo realises Wrexham will be expected to challenge for promotion.
“We have got to go up and I think we have got a good chance with the new signings the gaffer has made,” added Anoruo. “It is an ambitious club and hopefully we can match those ambitions.”
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