AARON HAYDEN declared himself fit and raring to go as Wrexham edge closer to returning for pre-season training.

The 25-year-old, brought in from League Two outfit Carlisle United for an undisclosed fee last summer, impressed as the Reds' right-sided centre-back in his first campaign at The Racecourse.

A regular in defence and contender for the Player of the Season award, Hayden picked up a hamstring injury in the 6-1 win at Weymouth on April 26 and missed the final six matches.

Hayden has had time to recuperate and is ready to go again, with Phil Parkinson's squad set to report back for pre-season early next month.

"Obviously the season didn't end the way I wanted it to but that is life," said Hayden.

"Things don't always go to plan in football but it is about how you deal with it.

"I just had to deal with it and try and support the team as much as I could.

"I have been resting really well and have had a nice few holidays to get some vitamin D into my system.

"I went to Jamaica so I got a lot of vitamin D from the sun in Jamaica!

"I need that to recover my bones so I am feeling really strong coming into pre-season.

"I am really looking forward to next year."

Hayden made 39 league appearances last term before sustaining the injury and he was absent for the run-in which included the 1-0 FA Trophy final defeat to Bromley at Wembley and heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Grimsby in the National League play-off semi-final.

The Mariners beat Solihull 2-1 in the final to clinch promotion back to the Football League and Hayden admits he stood a good chance of being available for the June 5 showpiece if Wrexham had won the last four encounter.

"I think I would have had a very good chance of being ready for the final if we had got there," said Hayden.

"When it came to the semi-final, I was just not ready; I was still feeling pain so I couldn't have done it.

"I really wanted to but there would have been no point playing in pain and end up costing us.

"That was the last thing I wanted to do.

"We just decided to rest it and if we got to the final, I hoped to play but it wasn't to be."

Parkinson admitted that losing Hayden was a huge blow at a crucial stage of the season, with Wrexham missing the defender's physicality as the promotion challenge came to a disappointing end.

But the defender, who also scored eight goals at the other end of the pitch, had complete faith in his team-mates.

"I have heard people say things and of course it is nice to hear from a personal point of view," said Hayden.

"But at the end of the day it is a team game.

"It is alright saying one guy might have made a difference but the team showed they were capable of beating anybody.

"And if I played, it might have been the same outcome."