ANDY THACKERAY would love to see Wrexham produce more home-grown talent and see players go on to lengthy careers at The Racecourse rather than move to other clubs.

Thackeray, who played for the Reds from 1988-1992, was used to seeing youngsters get their big chance in the first team during his four-season stay in north Wales.

Although the likes of Chris Armstrong and Lee Jones earned big money moves after coming through the ranks, a number of other players including Phil Hardy, Gareth Owen and Waynne Phillips stayed much longer and racked up the appearances for Wrexham after making the breakthrough.

The takeover of the club earlier this year by Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds presented Phil Parkinson with a bigger budget for Wrexham's 14th season in non-league, and allowed the Reds' boss to make quality additions to the squad.

Thackeray recognised the importance of selling prize assets to bring money in when Wrexham fell on hard time but he hopes to see more players come through the youth system and stay on in the coming years.

"When I first came here you had a lot of experience with Steve Buxton, Ollie Kearns, Neil Salathiel, Jon Bowden and Geoff Hunter but not many kids," said Thackeray.

"Within 12-18 months of me joining and Brian Flynn took over from Dixie McNeil, suddenly you had all those kids who came through: Chris Armstrong, Lee Jones, Gareth Owen, Phil Hardy, Jonathan Cross, Kieran Durkan, I could name 25 of them.

"That kept the club going through the hard times and fans recognise their own players.

"I think that is what Wrexham are missing now.

"I was only two, three, four years older than those young lads coming through and you watch them with interest when you see Lee Jones and Chris Armstrong go to big clubs.

"You want these players to move on but deep down, it's your Waynne Phillips, Gareth Owen and Phil Hardy's who go and play hundreds of games for the club that brought them through."

Paul Mullin, Aaron Hayden, Ben Tozer and James Jones all joined Wrexham from Football League clubs.

Raiding teams higher in the pyramid has not gone down well with supporters of other sides but Thackeray says recruiting quality players is key to Wrexham getting out of the fifth tier.

"How many years have other clubs come in and taken Wrexham's best players?" said Thackeray.

"Now Wrexham do it with two or three, suddenly you are the bad boys.

"I'm sorry but you have got to go out and get the best to be the best.

"If that means being the best in the National League and not being liked, who cares."

It is a player that Wrexham signed from a fellow National League club that Thackeray feels was an excellent bit of business by Parkinson.

Striker Jake Hyde, brought in from Halifax Town, has already scored four goals and earned rave reviews from the 53-year-old former defender.

"I watched Halifax and seen Jake play quite a lot," said Thackeray.

"I don't think you have seen the best of him yet.

"I think Wrexham need a winger, get Paul Mullin in alongside Jake and you need a midfield runner to join in with him because that is when he is at his best. He works so hard for the team.

"Defensively Wrexham are sound, the midfield maybe needs a little bit of tinkering but they look like they are nearly there."

Thackeray returned to The Racecourse to see his former club beat Dagenham and Redbridge 1-0 in front of a bumper 8,000+ crowd last month.

He believes the sky if the limit for Wrexham if they can just clinch promotion back to the Football League.

"It is fantastic to come in and see smiling faces," said Thackeray.

"Everything is here ready for the club to take off and I am sure the club is going to go a long way.

"It is just grinding it out and getting out of this National League, and keeping 8,000 fans happy, and then maybe getting a few more in again when this new stand is built."

The future is bright at The Racecourse but the world's third oldest professional club has produced lots of happy memories over the years,

Thackery was in the side and he helped put Wrexham - playing in the old Division Four - into the record books after famously beating league champions Arsenal 2-1 in one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of all time in 1992.

"The Arsenal game was brilliant and I have got some great memories from my time here," added Thackeray, who also played for home-town club Huddersfield, Newport County, Rochdale and Halifax.