FOR the first time in over two and a half years, Wrexham fans are getting to grips with an unfamiliar sensation... concern!

We actually have an issue to worry us, after an unprecedented spell of blissful excellence. We’ve started losing away games.

In fact, we’ve actually been comfortably second best in a number of away matches this season, but before analysing the matter, let’s keep some perspective.

This is an excellent side which is in the title race for a reason. I deliberately used the words ‘concern’ and ‘worry’ because our away form hasn’t become anything worse than that. It’s when we come up against teams who play in a certain way that we have issues.

It’s not that we can’t get results away from home. We’ve put in some excellent performances in many of our most difficult fixtures.

Beating Shrewsbury in the FA Cup was a major achievement, a win at the ground of a team in the division above us, and it was only four away games ago.

In the prior round we went to a Mansfield team who simply weren’t losing matches and came away with a win. We’d already drawn there in the league, too.

And when we travelled to our great modern rivals, Notts County, the 2-0 scoreline reflected the control we’d enjoyed throughout the match. We drew at Barrow too, in a game we ought to have won.

Setting aside the remarkable 5-0 loss at Stockport, which owed a great deal to the quality of their on-loan forwards, we’ve looked good away to the strongest sides in the division.

The issue has come when we’ve faced teams from lower down the table.

Rather than try to take us on in a game of football, they want to turn it into a battle. They know that if they let us play and try to match us, they’ll probably be blown away, but if they can restrict our space and make it a trial of strength, they might be able to knock us off our stride.

As more teams have found success doing so, others plan to adopt the same approach.

I was fascinated to hear Phil Parkinson’s post-match thoughts, as his comments on how to turn this around completely matched how I think we can resolve the issue.

We have so many technical players that we should be able to pass through the press, thus exposing our opponents’ defence.

Parkinson wants us to do that, so it’s a case of ensuring the players have the confidence in themselves and their team mates to pass the ball around in restricted spaces, and the patience to do so until an opening is created for us to exploit.

Midfielders of the quality of George Evans, Elliot Lee and Andy Cannon are surely capable of doing exactly that.

We need to improve our results in away games to avoid putting pressure on our home form. It’s wonderful to have such magnificent form at the STōK Cae Ras, but it should be the icing on the cake which secures the title.

Instead, there’s a danger that our home results will be put under pressure: if our away form continues in this vein, outstanding home form will become a necessity, not a bonus.

We travel to Sutton next Tuesday. Cut adrift from the teams above them, they appear destined to be relegated.

It’s the sort of game which should be a routine win for a title-chasing team, but Sutton are a direct, long-ball team who gave us problems at the STōK Cae Ras and naturally play the sort of football which has troubled us this season.

It didn’t stand out as a crucial game when the fixtures were released, but it now takes on great importance.

The team need to show that they are able to take Parkinson’s directions on board and play their natural game rather than be buffeted by a physical team. It would send an important message out to our upcoming opponents that getting in our faces isn’t the silver bullet they think it is, and they will have to revise their plans when we come to town.

Stalemate has been the usual order of things in our recent games against Bradford, with four of our last five matches being draws including two clashes already this season. Our last three home games against them have ended level.

Our last win over The Bantams came in September 2004 when a second-minute goal from Dennis Lawrence (pictured above) decided the game, while their previous visit, for a League Cup tie in September 2002, had a memorable conclusion.

City arrived as firm favourites as they were two divisions higher, and when they took the lead with seven minutes left against the run of play it looked like they would triumph.

However, Andy Morrell equalised in the 89th minute and Carlos Edwards hit a dramatic winner in the closing moments!

Our best win against Bradford was a 6-1 victory in an Auto Windscreens Shield tie in November 1994, with Gary Bennett scoring a hat-trick in a game which ironically attracted the smallest ever crowd for a visit by City of just 1,407.