KEVIN ROBERTS won’t settle for second best with Wrexham and is targeting automatic promotion.
Wrexham find themselves level on points with National League leaders Sutton United at the halfway mark of the season following Saturday’s home win over Maidenhead.
A top seven finish will guarantee a play-off position and although he isn’t getting carried away with 23 games to go, Roberts is setting his sights on sustaining a title challenge.
“We could be fighting for a play-off spot, at the minute we are fighting at the top of the table and we have got to keep it that way,” said Roberts.
“I don’t think anyone, no matter who they go and sign in January, is going to run away with the league.
“But we would rather be fighting in the top three positions than being eighth or ninth going for the top seven.
“It might happen that we don’t win the league but as long as we are fighting for it and we don’t drop too far down.
“Our aim is definitely to stay in those top two or three positions.”
Boss Dean Keates revamped the squad over the summer after the Reds failed to finish in the play-offs for a fourth season in a row.
Roberts, one of the new faces who arrived at The Racecourse after joining from Halifax Town, admits Wrexham have made a lot of progress to be classed as promotion contenders.
“We can’t argue with the position we are in,” said Roberts, with Wrexham next in action at promotion rivals Macclesfield Town on Saturday.
“Wrexham finished 13th last season so it is good progress in five months.
“The manager brought 12, 13 new players in, maybe more, and we would probably have bitten your hand off to be in this position.
“I certainly would have because sometimes it can take new players a bit of time to gel together, whether you are full-time or not.
“That amount of new players does normally take a little longer so I would say we are definitely ahead of schedule.”
Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Maidenhead means Wrexham took a healthy 42 points from the first 23 games.
Goals either side of the break from leading scorer Chris Holroyd and defender James Jennings secured another victory, and Roberts felt the Reds played some of their best football of the campaign.
“I thought at times in the first half we played really well,” said Roberts.
“It was some of the best football we have played this season.
“We were patient, they had two banks of four and were hard to break down but we did not force it.
“We kept the ball well and managed to break them down.
“Second half, they had a man sent off and sometimes it can work against you.
“They threw everyone at it, they were under no pressure and the game was almost lost for them so they made it really difficult but we got the win.”
Wrexham scored twice in a match for just the sixth time this season when Jennings struck in the 75th minute, and Roberts admits the aim is to kill games off quicker.
“If we can get the second goal in the first half, maybe it will relax us a bit more,” said Roberts.
“The gaffer has talked about trying to blast teams away in the first 20 minutes.
“It is a little bit more difficult but if we can get to that stage, the second half will be a lot more comfortable.”
Although goals have been hard to come by, Wrexham boast the best defensive record in the division, with the Reds conceding just 14 times in 23 outings.
After keeping another clean sheet against Maidenhead, Roberts says it had been a team effort.
“I made a mistake at the end but Shaun Pearson bailed me out so I owe him one,” added Roberts.
“That is what your team-mates are there for.
“You are not going to be perfect every game and whoever plays in the back four, and the lads in front of you, your team-mates are going to be there to bail you out if you do make a mistake and vice-versa.
“That is why we keep so many clean sheets, through hard work and looking out for another.”
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