OLLIE PALMER had big boots to fill when he moved to Wrexham.

The January transfer window saw the target man ditch League One Wimbledon to join Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds’ Wrexham revolution in a club record £300,000 deal.

The pressure was on him from day one to repay that fee with goals to help the Reds in their fight to escape from their 14-year non-league nightmare.

But Palmer had a little added pressure - replacing Racecourse icon Joey Jones as Wrexham’s most expensive signing ever.

Arfon Griffiths forked out £210,000 in 1978 to bring back cult-hero Jones from Liverpool, three years after Anfield boss Bob Paisley had signed the tough, tackling defender for £110,000.

In three separate spells with the club, Jones, who still lives in the town and is back at the club in an ambassadorial role, gave his all in every second of the 479 games he played for the club.

His name is synonymous in football never mind Wrexham. Everyone loves Joey Jones.

Forty four years that transfer fee has remained in the Reds record books.

Wrexham fans aren’t used to big money signings in the 21st century. But that’s all changed now.

Every Wrexham fan liked what they saw as Palmer, four days after celebrating his 30th birthday, scored 35 minutes into his Reds debut with what turned out to be the winner in a 1-0 victory at home to Grimsby Town on January 25.

A month later in a six-pointer at Chesterfield, the love was growing even stronger as Palmer scored twice in what was a real stand-out result in Wrexham’s season.

Palmer, who's been around the block a bit having spells in and out of the Football League with Woking, Boreham Wood, Havant and Waterlooville, Mansfield, Grimsby Town, Leyton Orient, Luton, Lincoln City and Crawley, was becoming the perfect partner for co-striker Paul Mullin.

The two hit it off straight away and their goals have not only helped Wrexham to Sunday’s FA Trophy final but also to the brink of promotion and the long-awaited return to the Football League.

While Mullin tops the National League list of goalscorers with 26 to his name, Palmer’s 15 goals in 21 starts is an impressive return for what most fans would call a good old fashioned number nine.

Palmer’s strike rate is a goal every 117 minutes and that’s not bad at any level. He also scored vital goals in big games, take the table-topping win at home to Stockport County a week last Sunday as a perfect example.

Wrexham were second best until Palmer headed home Ben Tozer’s long throw to put Wrexham on course for a 3-0 win, a place on top of the table and to ensure the title race went right down to the wire.

Palmer was quick to emphasise the team-ethic for Wrexham’s brilliant run since the turn of the year.

He was named man of the match in the superb FA Trophy semi-final victory over Stockport but played it all down after the final whistle, insisting: “It was a fantastic team performance.”

But the 6ft 5in striker will have no complaints taking all the accolades if he wins it for Wrexham against Bromley on Sunday.

“We’ve got to Wembley - and it will be a good day out for the fans,” added Palmer. “It is something for the fans to look forward to.”