‘START as you mean to go on’ is James Jennings’ philosophy as Wrexham head into what he hopes will be a successful 2018.

Wrexham have emerged as promotion contenders this season after manager Dean Keates revamped the squad in the summer and the Reds currently sit fifth in the National League, seven points behind leaders Macclesfield with a game in hand.

Jennings, who spent the second half of the 2016-17 campaign on loan at Wrexham and made the permanent switch in May after leaving Cheltenham Town, is pleased with the progress made this term.

The left-back hopes victory this afternoon over lowly Barrow at The Racecourse is the springboard for a triumphant final four months of the season.

“We wan to try and start the year on a positive,” said Jennings.

“It has been a good first half of the season, a lot better than last year when I joined.

“We find ourselves in a much better position and we want to hit the ground running in 2018, making sure it is a successful one for us.

“I think today’s game really sets that tone, that is how we want to kick-off the new year.

“Start as you mean to go on with a win.”

Wrexham go into the New Year’s Day encounter without a league win in three outings.

Defeat in the top of the table clash against Macclesfield was followed by successive draws over Christmas at home to Dover and away at Barrow.

Jennings has set his sights on Wrexham returning to winning ways in the return fixture against Barrow.

“We have been pleased with how this season has gone,” said Jennings.

“A little bit disappointed with the last two games and two draws.

“But Barrow is massive for us. We are at home and no doubt there will be a big crowd.

“We have seen what Barrow were like the other day but we are on our patch now so we will work on areas on how to exploit them and nullify them, work on ways to try and beat them and start the year off with a win.”

Wrexham got off to the worst possible start in the Boxing Day clash with Barrow at Holker Street as the hosts took the lead with less than two minutes on the clock.

Captain Shaun Pearson headed Wrexham back on level terms after meeting Paul Rutherford’s corner and it finished in a 1-1 draw.

Having coped well with Barrow’s aerial threat following the early set-back, Jennings knows what to expect this afternoon.

“It is a tough game against Barrow,” said Jennings.

“We didn’t get off to the best of starts at their place, they started off well, but we showed good character coming back from it.

“The fixtures have not been kind for us over Christmas but the positive to take from the game being called off at Gateshead is we have got an extra day’s rest so we will be raring to go at home to Barrow and looking to get three points.”

Wrexham’s bid to register a first win since beating Maidenhead United 2-0 on December 2 was thwarted by the wintry weather at the weekend.

The final game of 2017 against Gateshead was postponed because of a frozen pitch at The International Stadium.

A pitch inspection on Friday afternoon deemed the playing surface unfit and the Wrexham party, who had already set-off for an overnight stay, headed back home.

Although disappointed not to be in action – Wrexham instead trained on Saturday and yesterday – Jennings believes the rest will benefit the players.

“We said after the Barrow game that we were disappointed with two draws on the bounce,” said Jennings.

“The next two games we wanted to try and put back to back wins together.

“We were a little bit disappointed with the last draw, although Barrow is a tough place to go to, and when you look back at the end of the season you will probably say it is a point gained.

“How this season has been you want to be winning matches and losing against Macclesfield, and then drawing against Dover where we think we should have won, we are probably a little bit critical and disappointed with a draw.

“We went into the Gateshead game setting our targets high and trying to get the win.

“Obviously that was called off so I suppose the only positive thing is we will have an extra few days rest going into the Barrow game.”