PHIL PARKINSON explained his surprise decision to name Tom O'Connor as a centre-half for Wrexham's FA Trophy final defeat against Bromley at Wembley.

Although a midfielder, O'Connor can play in defence and he was selected in Wrexham's back-line for the Wembley showpiece, with Tyler French dropping to the substitutes bench.

Parkinson revealed that he wanted to give Connor some much needed game-time ahead of the play-off campaign, with the Reds facing Grimsby at The Racecourse in Saturday's semi-final.

O'Connor made four starts after making the switch from Burton Albion during the January transfer window but was then sidelined for two months with a hamstring injury before returning to make three substitute appearances during the run-in.

"Team selection is always difficult and there are always decisions to be made," said Parkinson, who also decided to start Liam McAlinden at right wing-back in place of Reece Hall-Johnson.

"We had our reasons for making that decision.

"I thought Tom acquitted himself well. He needed some minutes going into the play-offs if he is needed for them.

"It was a big call but I wanted to play Tom.

"Tyler, Reece and people like that have got to take the disappointment where other players like Tom have had the disappointment of not getting in the team sooner.

"The squad is together, they understand that it is not about individuals; it is about the collective group and whether they are starting, on the bench or in the stand, everybody has got to do their bit at the weekend."

Looking ahead to selection ahead of this weekend's clash with the Mariners, Parkinson said: "We are monitoring one or two players this week.

"Just make sure that we pick the right team, we pick the right bench, and everyone has got a clear understanding that it is us or them."

Centre-half Aaron Hayden, who missed the last three league games, and cup final defeat, with a hamstring injury, and full-back Bryce Hosannah, are currently on the sidelines.

When asked whether either could be available for the clash against Grimsby, Parkinson replied: "They are both closing in on a return."