NAT KNIGHT-PERCIVAL believes he is adjusting to the demands of full-time football.
The 23-year-old midfielder – Dean Saunders’ first summer signing – spent five seasons at former club Histon on a part-time basis, combining playing for the
Stutes with working in a car factory.
The Wrexham squad is currently at a training camp – unfamiliar territory for Knight-Percival – in Aberystwyth before facing the Seasiders in a friendly at Park Avenue tomorrow (2.30pm), but he is adapting well to life as a full-time professional.
“It is like getting chucked in at the deep end!” joked Knight-Percival. “But it is
brilliant. I am finding it good, really enjoying it and the lads are great.
“I am just getting up to pace with it. Obviously it is a little bit different because you are playing full-time and I am not used to it as much. But when I was playing part-
time, I would be training pretty much every day anyway.
“It is a bit of a step up but I am enjoying it – and relishing it.”
An England C international and comfortable in a number of positions, Knight-Percival made his first Wrexham appearance in Tuesday night’s 4-0 victory at Vauxhall Motors.
Knight-Percival played the opening 45 minutes of the first pre-season friendly and was pleased to get some match time: “It was good to get the legs going,” he said.
“First game back you just want to get through it, and get a bit of sharpness and
fitness about you.
“We played some good football and came out with a good result.
“I thought we all played a good part – all the lads in the first half and second half. Everyone who played really put in all their effort and we got a good result.”
Knight-Percival, who featured on the left-wing against Motors, twice came close to getting on the scoresheet.
A regular scorer in his days at Histon, he is confident he will continue to find the net at Wrexham: “I should have had a couple of goals but you can’t score them all,” he said. “But hopefully towards the beginning of the season I’ll start hitting the back of the net.
“Obviously I want to score goals and I think I will be able to get a lot of goals with
the players we’ve got in the team.
“There are some really good providers so I think a lot of us will be able to chip with plenty of goals.
“I have scored a fair few in the Conference the last few seasons so hopefully I can continue that form at Wrexham.”
Saunders is also confident his summer signing will be a regular goalscorer for the Reds: “Nat played well, got into the middle and nearly scored – but he will score
goals for us,” he said.
Five of Saunders’ seven summer signings were given a run-out at Motors, although centre-back Chris Blackburn and midfielder Dean Keates weren’t risked.
Pleased with the performance, Saunders, operating on a reduced budget, is still looking to bolster his squad by bringing in a goalkeeper, centre-back and
midfielder, but he admitted there isn’t a lot of money left.
“The players look okay and I was pleased with how we played, there were some good performances,” said Saunders. “And we have Chris and Dean to come in, and a few more signings.
“But I am at the end of my budget now. We have not got loads of players but I have had to do what I can.
“I’ve got some good players in on good deals, some on low salaries with
incentives if we do well.”
Saunders has already offered one of his current players, left-back Johnny Hunt, a contract extension.
Hunt, who has only just signed a new one-year deal, would be tied to the club until the summer of 2012 if he accepts, and the 19-year-old said he was surprised when approached by Saunders.
“I was made up, really happy when he told me,” said Hunt. “When he came over to speak I thought he was going to talk about the Motors game so I was surprised
because it is so early on – the season hasn’t even started yet!
“It is nice to know I am in his mind. Hopefully he gives me my chance in the first team this season.”
Delighted to get 45 minutes against Motors on Tuesday, Hunt added: “Hopefully I can push on from that. We did well for the first game, although I felt a bit tired afterwards because getting match fit is different to training.”
Prior to leaving for the training camp, Hunt played for a Wrexham XI that lost 4-3 to Bala at Colliers Park on Wednesday.
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