SAM RICKETTS feels he has recruited a quality replacement after losing key centre-back Manny Smith.

Ricketts was quick to add defensive cover after seeing Smith pick up a knee injury and has signed Jake Lawlor on a two year deal from National League rivals Salford City for an undisclosed fee.

The 27-year-old only signed for newly promoted Salford in the summer from Guiseley but with chances limited, has opted to join Wrexham.

An almost ever-present in his five years with Guiseley, Lawlor joined AFC Fylde in February 2018 and helped the Coasters reach the play-offs before moving on to Salford, and Ricketts is delighted to land him.

"Manny is a fantastic player and he will certainly be a loss to the club for the time that he is out injured," said Ricketts.

"But we are always looking for good players, players who can come in and improve the team and the squad, and Jake certainly ticks those boxes.

"A really good height, good on the ball and eager to get going.

"Salford snapped him up as soon as they could in the summer, for one reason or another it didn't happen there but his bad luck there is our good fortune for him able to come in here.

"I am really looking forward to him being part of what we are trying to do."

Brad Walker, a midfielder who has been brought in loan from Crewe Alex and can also play centre-back, was unable to make his debut in Saturday's 2-0 win over Aldershot because of paperwork.

Teenager Doug Tharme made his first league start in the absence of Smith who should find out more about the severity of his injury this week.

"Manny had a scan, we are going to see a specialist this week and just see where he is up to," said Ricketts.

"It is an injury which we will just manage and get him back in when it's right, we don't want to rush him.

"The actual length of time he is going to be out we are not sure on yet but we have made sure that we have got very good players - Jake and Brad - who can come in and play in these positions, and improve us as a team."

Lawlor is looking forward to playing his part in Wrexham's promotion challenge.

He told the official website: “You can see here today, joining on match day, there are loads of fans here with shirts on, it’s a big club.

“I can’t wait to get started and help get the club promoted out of this league.

“I’m here to win games. I have experience of getting promotion in the past and that will help. The club have shown trust in me with a two-year deal and that’s really good for us both.”