Wrexham FC: Saunders targets goalkeeper Brown

Reporter:

Richard Williams

DEAN SAUNDERS is hoping to clinch the signing of goalkeeper Wayne Brown and an un-named centre-back from a higher division on a season-long loan deal.

Brown, a free agent having been released from Bury at the end of last season, has held talks with Saunders, although he feels the 33-year-old, who has also played for Chester City and Hereford United, might be out of Wrexham’s price range.

Saunders, who wants to to sign another goalkeeper to compete with Chris Maxwell for the number one jersey next term, said: “I am still trying to sort out a deal to sign Wayne, but he might be out of our price range.

“I thought I had got him and it is still on going, but I may have to look elsewhere.”

Saunders is also in discussions with a club about bringing in a defender on loan for next season after losing Ashley Westwood and Mansour Assoumani.

But as he is operating on a reduced budget, Saunders is hoping the player’s club will contribute towards his wages.

“We want to take the player on loan for a year from a club higher up than us,” said Saunders.

“We are waiting for their chairman to agree to the offer we have put in. If we can get him it would be a great signing.

“The player wants to come and we have put an offer forward but we can’t pay all the wages. We are looking for a deal and just waiting for the chairman to say yes.”

Saunders also revealed that midfielder Kristian O’Leary has not yet agreed a one-year deal: “It is up in the air,” added the Reds’ boss, with Welsh Premier League outfit Neath also rumoured to be interested in the 32-year-old.

Saunders believes the three players would be excellent additions to his squad: “It is just the last few pieces I need now,” he added. “If I can get all three I would be thrilled with how we are shaping up.

“I said I wanted to get more experience and a lot more men. I knew what we needed to improve.

“We needed to get more players in who know what they are doing, don’t need to be coached, are ready made and can help the younger players.”

Saunders has already signed seven players this summer – left-back Neil Ashton, centre-back Chris Blackburn, midfielders Dean Keates and Nat Knight-Percival, and strikers Andy Morrell, Kevin Gall and David Brown.

All seven, along with the rest of the Wrexham squad, are in line to play some part in tonight’s first pre-season friendly against Vauxhall Motors at Rivacre Park (7.30pm).

However, Saunders, who put his players through two training sessions yesterday, won’t risk anyone carrying a knock: “I am just treating it as a training session,” he said. “We’ve only trained six days and I’m not expecting too much.

“Most will play half a game but if anyone feels anything they won’t play, I want to avoid injuries.

“We play Aberystwyth on Saturday and anyone who does not take part tonight can play then.

“I will give everyone a chance in pre-season and then there will be competition for places up for grabs.

“We’ve got new players and I am moulding them into how I want them to play.

Saunders is particularly impressed with the progress made by former Shrewsbury Town and Chester City defender Ashton since returning for pre-season training last week.

Ashton, who signed a month-to-month contract, will be offered a longer deal if he proves his fitness after a groin operation last season.

“Neil looks really fit and lean, I was surprised when I saw him,” said Saunders, who failed to secure the services of another left-back, Aaron Brown, because of his wage demands.

“But he has been training all summer so all credit to him, he looks a different person. He has been giving it everything and been at the front in the running.”

It remains to be seen if current player of the year Andy Fleming features tonight.
The midfielder turned down a new deal and Morecambe, among other clubs, have been in hot pursuit of the 22-year-old.

The two clubs will discuss a compensation package for Fleming, who did train at Colliers Park yesterday.

“There has been interest in Andy from a few clubs, and I have spoken to Sammy McIlory at Morecambe,” said Saunders. “They are going to put an offer to us so we are waiting on that.”

Meanwhile, Saunders will take his players to Aberystwyth for a training camp later this week before facing the Seasiders at Park Avenue on Saturday in their next friendly.

The Official Wrexham Supporters Association has donated £2,000 to fund the majority of the three-day trip and Saunders added: “We have seven or eight new players and I felt we needed to go away to get the team to bond, and to get to know each other.”

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