Wrexham AFC: John Rooney wants contract dispute to be resolved


Richard Williams

JOHN ROONEY wants his starting place back for Wrexham as talks continue over the midfielder’s future at the club.

Rooney, named the National League Player of the Month for January,  has been left out of the side for the last two games because he is just one start away from activating a clause to keep him at The Racecourse next season as well as triggering a pay-rise on his current deal.

Talks have been on-going between manager Dean Keates and Rooney who reiterated his desire to extend his stay with Wrexham and would love to come to agreement before Saturday’s match at Dover Athletic.

“Hopefully we can get it resolved sooner rather than later and I can be in contention again from the off,” said Rooney - the brother of England captain, Wayne.

“I want to play every game, the gaffer knows that and he understands that.

“We have spoke about next season, that is one thing we are trying to sort so hopefully we can get it sorted.”

Rooney, who has started 29 league matches since joining Wrexham from arch rivals Chester last summer, has made an impact coming off the substitutes bench, scoring three goals in the back to back wins against Boreham Wood and Guiseley.

“At the end of the day the manager picks the team but when I come on I am not going to go out there and not try,” said Rooney.

“I have got to go out there and play for the team. I have gone out there the last two weeks and done what I have done.”

Rooney, who converted an injury time penalty to sink Boreham Wood, gave Wrexham a 2-1 lead following his introduction against Guiseley on Saturday and then scored a spectacular last-gasp free-kick.

“It was a good goal, I caught the free-kick well and it went in off the underside of the bar,” said the 11-goal leading scorer.

On-loan striker Ntumba Massanka had equalised with a bicycle kick and Rooney hailed the wonder strike.

“I thought Ntumba’s was unbelievable,” said Rooney. “His technique and to catch it the way he caught it, it was a great goal.”

Despite the  two contenders for Goal of the Season, Rooney insists the priority was picking up victory which extended the unbeaten run to five games and leaves 10th placed Wrexham seven points away from the play-offs.

But Rooney played down talk of a top-five finish.

“The main thing was getting the points on the board and we are now five games unbeaten,” said Rooney.

“We are on a good run of form, we will just take each game as it comes and try to pick up as many points as we can from now until the end of the season.

“We haven’t looked too far ahead but if we can keep getting points on the board then you never know.”

Rooney knows it will be a difficult assignment against fifth placed Dover but he feels Wrexham can leave The Crabble Ground with a positive result.

“It is far to go and a tricky place to go,” said Rooney. “But the way we have been performing and the run of form we are on, I think we can go and beat anyone in the league.

“Obviously Dover are a good team and they are up there for a reason. They were up there last season as well and they play to their strengths.

“They have got a lot of big lads and they have got Ricky Miller up top who is banging goals in but I am sure we can go there, do ourselves proud and come away with the points.”

Fellow midfielder Paul Rutherford, who was also one start away from triggering a contract extension, came to an agreement with Keates and was in the side against Guiseley.

Rutherford hasn’t put pen to paper on next season’s contract but says his future is at Wrexham.

“We had a couple of chats last week and we came to an agreement that we were both happy with so fortunately I was available for selection and I was pleased with it,” said Rutherford, whose clause was activated on 25 starts.

“We have come to an agreement that I will be playing for the rest of the season, as long as the manager selects me. There is an agreement in principle in place for next year, it is just going through the finer details of it.

“It is all in place, we are both happy with it and it shouldn’t be too complicated to get the rest of it sorted.”

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