EXPECTATION levels have been ramped up but Mickey Thomas says Wrexham must handle the pressure of playing in front of bumper crowds at The Racecourse.

Nearly 9,200 supporters - the Reds' highest ever National League attendance and biggest league midweek crowd since 1979 - saw Phil Parkinson's side score a late equaliser and rescue a point in the last outing against Chesterfield.

The feelgood factor has returned to the third oldest professional club in the world, with fans snapping up season tickets in their thousands following the takeover by Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds.

Big things are expected and Wrexham legend Thomas stressed the importance of making The Racecourse a fortress in pursuit of promotion.

"You have to earn the right to get promotion, no question about that," said Thomas.

"The manager and his coaches, they know what they need and they know what they have to do but ultimately it is down to the players.

"It has been fantastic off the field but where you have got to get it right is on the football pitch and you have to win games.

"Getting 8,500 crowds every game, that puts a lot more pressure on you because expectations are high and you have to perform.

"Home form is important. If you want to win promotion, you have to make your home ground a fortress.

"If you don't win games, that increases the pressure on the players to perform; you feel intimidated by coming out at The Racecourse.

"This has got to be their home where they enjoy it and if you can win your home games, you can be in with a chance of winning automatic promotion."

The 1-1 home draw against Chesterfield following a below par performance maintained the unbeaten home record but Wrexham sit mid-table with ground to make up.

Parkinson revamped the squad following his appointment as manager, making 10 new signings, and Thomas admits it will take time for the new-look side to gel.

"At this moment it hasn't been a great start but it takes time with a new team and new surroundings," said Thomas.

"Once it comes all together, I am sure we will be up there and we can challenge for automatic promotion."

Wrexham return to action on Saturday against Marine at Rossett Park in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round.

Challenging for promotion is the priority but Thomas insists winning games regardless of the competition is never a bad thing.

"It is a special competition with a history and we have probably got the biggest one of all time," said Thomas, who scored the equaliser before Steve Watkin's winner caused a massive cup upset when Wrexham beat league champions Arsenal in 1992.

"It is not just that though. You want to keep the momentum going. If you are winning games in the FA Cup as well, it gives you a bit more of a lift and raises your game.

"Ultimately it is down to winning football games and hopefully we can do that.

"You have got to go into every game to try and win it because winning breeds confidence.

"But the priority is promotion, there is no question about that."