JAMES HURST wants to help Wrexham emulate Lincoln City after becoming Dean Keates’ first new signing of the summer.
The 25-year-old, who can play in defence or midfield and finished last season at Dover Athletic, has joined the Reds on a one year deal.
Keates is revamping the squad after Wrexham finished 13th in the National League season, with Lincoln, winning automatic promotion as champions.
Wrexham have gone four years without reaching the play-offs – Lincoln also had several batten seasons prior to their title triumph – and Hurst wants to mount a promotion challenge with his new club.
“We want to have a good go at it next season and I want to try and make a difference here and enjoy myself playing,” said Hurst.
“A club like this can always do something that Lincoln did.
“Wrexham are a top former Football League club and at any given moment they can spring a run together and get back into the league.
“I know all about Wrexham because I used to play against them as a kid because they always had a good youth outfit.
“A club like this, I don’t see why they can’t get back in the league.”
Hurst played in the Premier League for West Brom and also had Football League experience with Blackpool, Shrewsbury, Chesterfield, Birmingham City, Crawley and Northampton Town.
But despite being well-travelled – Hurst also had spells in Iceland with ÍBV and Valur – he is looking forward to a settled spell at Wrexham and he believes being versatile is a major asset.
“I have had a few clubs,” said Hurst. “I am 25 now so I want to try and settle down and have a good few seasons if possible, and play as many games as possible.
“I would say midfield is my preferred position but I don’t mind where I play.
“Being able to play in a couple of positions is good, it gives the manager options and you don’t have to bring in as many players if you have got a few players who can play in three or four positions.
Hurst is also looking forward to making his Racecourse bow, having never played at Wrexham’s home ground.
“I am delighted to sign and really looking forward to it at Wrexham,” said Hurst. “I started off last season at Telford and went to Dover in January. I really enjoyed it at Dover but I think the gaffer wanted to freshen things up and I told them I wasn’t going to sign for them.
“I have never played here at Wrexham. I have been injured every time I have come up against Wrexham for Torquay and Guiseley so it will be nice to actually play here for once.”
Keates revealed that Hurst was one of the players he had targeted and the player actually got in touch with the Reds’ boss.
“James was on our list and he touched base with me at the end of the season,” said Keates. “He flagged up when he were preparing to play Dover down at their place.
“We took in the game against Macclesfield and he was absolutely outstanding.
“We kept track of him and the games we have gone back and watched, he was showing up in them and I was impressed with him.
“James played a fair few games at Dover towards the end of the seasson and he is somebody we have kept a note of.
“He touched base with me because he is north-west based, he was on the list but the fact he came to me and said ‘would we be interested’ was good.”
Keates believes Hurst is eager to get his career back on track.
“James brings something to the football club and he is very versatile,” said Keates. “He has played right across the back four and can play in midfield. He is tenacious in the tackle, athletic and is a good size so I am looking forward to working with him.
“If we can get the best out of him, I know how he can perform .
“We have got him back into full-time football, he is hungry and wants to get his career back going again.”
Keates has also been boosted by the news that Paul Rutherford has put pen to paper on a new contract.
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