PHIL PARKINSON has brought in defensive reinforcements but the Wrexham heaped praise on two centre-backs who proved their worth at the weekend.

Jordan Tunnicliffe and Aaron Hayden went off injured inside the opening 10 minutes of Sunday’s thrilling 3-3 draw against Sheffield United at The Racecourse in the FA Cup fourth round.

Max Cleworth, who has found opportunities limited in recent months, came off the bench while midfielder Tom O’Connor made the switch to the Reds’ defence where he has played before.

O’Connor, who continued his rich vein of scoring form by making it 2-1, finished the game in the left-back position when Parkinson made a bold substitution in a bid to win the tie.

“Tom has played a lot of positions in his career,” said the Reds’ boss.

“He is a versatile player and he has done brilliant for us wherever we have asked him to play.

“He is a class player, he has shown that.

“It has taken him a while to get going in terms of his Wrexham career but he has got seven goals now and he is just pure class.”

Cleworth joined Ben Tozer and O’Connor in the back-line following the early set-back and Parkinson added: “Max did great when he came on but we expect that from him.

“It is not a surprise.

“Max is a good player and we rate him highly.”

O’Connor was happy to fill in at the back when Hayden joined Tunnicliffe in limping off injured.

“I don’t mind where I play,” said O’Connor.

“I have played centre-back before and if the team needs me there like on Sunday, I am happy enough to slot in but hopefully the injuries aren’t too bad.”

Wrexham, who have signed centre-back Eoghan O’Connell from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee due to the defensive injuries, resume the National League title challenge against Altrincham at Moss Lane on Saturday.

The Reds are three points behind Notts County with two games in hand and O’Connor, set to return to midfield, is expecting a tricky test.

“It is going to be another tough game at Altrincham,” he added.

“They are a good side but we will look forward to it.”