Saunders determined to plug the Wrexham FC leaks

Reporter:

Richard Williams


DEAN SAUNDERS insists that Wrexham will overcome their defensive frailties as they aim to end a sequence of two successive defeats when they entertain Kidderminster Harriers at The Racecourse tonight (7.45pm).

Wrexham failed to bounce back from their 3-0 defeat at Forest Green Rovers as they went down 4-3 to part-time Eastbourne Borough on Saturday.

Eastbourne took advantage of poor marking by scoring their opening two goals from set-pieces as Wrexham went to sleep.

And after shipping seven goals in their last two outings Saunders is confident his new look Wrexham defence will get better.

“We went over a few things from Saturday in training yesterday,” said Saunders.

“We had 24 clean sheets last season but that defence on Saturday was only put together the day before.

“I decided to put Marvin Andrews in because I knew we were going to get bombarded aerially, and I thought he did well. He was brilliant in the air and that will help us.

“What has gone on has never happened since I have been here but we haven’t conceded a goal from open play, just the one from our own throw-in.

“I could blame myself for the back four not being settled before the season started. I was relying on a player signing but it did not come off in the end.

“We will get better defensively. The defence will improve as we work on things.

“Little things are happening because we have got new players but we will put it right. We have got to adjust a few things in the box.”

Wrexham opened the new Conference campaign with a 1-0 victory over Cambridge before those two away defeats.

And although he is not happy with Wrexham’s points tally, Saunders acknowledged it will look a lot better if his side can beat Kidderminster and Barrow, who also visit The Racecourse on Saturday.

“We have got to keep picking up points,” said Saunders. “I don’t take anybody for granted. Kidderminster have scored early in the games they have played and they will come out after us.

“It is a long season and if we win tonight the points total will be alright, although not what it should be.

“But it will be looking good if we also get a win on Saturday. It just seems every game we play is a must-win game after just one week.”

And Saunders believes he has got a group of players who can show what they are made of and bounce back: “We are just over a week into the season,” he said.

“Just one week ago everyone was saying how good we were after we beat Cambridge.

“We can’t let this knock us back. We need a reaction again.

“I have got some experienced players which will be the difference between this season and the last. They know how to get back up off the floor.”

Wrexham themselves scored two goals from set-pieces at Eastbourne through midfielder Christian Smith and debutant centre-back Andrews.

Smith went on to score his second following a well worked move and although he felt the two penalties awarded to Eastbourne were harsh, Saunders took some positives out of the defeat.

“The games are all going down to the wire, we are still having to fight going into injury time,” said Saunders. “I don’t want to sound like a broken record but the refereeing is a lottery in every game.

“But we looked good going forward and scored three very good goals.We looked dangerous from set-pieces and some things we have worked on came off.

“Stevenage scored 25 goals between their defence last season and that got them promotion. We have got two so far from set-pieces.”

Saunders is forced into one change tonight because defender Frank Sinclair is struggling to overcome the groin injury sustained at Priory Lane on Saturday so right-back Declan Walker is in line for a return, with Chris Blackburn reverting to the centre of defence.

“I don’t think Frank will be fit but he might be ready for Saturday,” said Saunders. “I knew it would be difficult for him to play three games in a week and kept my fingers crossed he would not get injured.

“It is his abductor, but I don’t think it is too bad.”

With Wrexham also facing a Bank Holiday double header against Barrow and Bath City in the space of 48 hours, Saunders added: “We have got three games in a short amount of time and I don’t want players to get injured by overplaying them.

“But we are not in a position where we can rest players.”

Former Wrexham defender Mike Williams, released by Saunders at the end of last season, will be in the Kidderminster team tonight.

But brother Marc, who has joined Kidderminster on a three-month loan deal, is not eligible to face parent club Wrexham.

See full story in the Leader

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