THERE were highs and lows en route to clinching a top-three finish in League Two and Phil Parkinson feels responding quickly to setbacks was the key to success.

Wrexham won the National League title following a record-breaking 2022-23 campaign when the Reds finished with a best-ever 111 points haul and only lost three games.

It was always going to be tough matching those figures on their return to the Football League following a 15-year absence and Wrexham made an exceptionally slow start as they were well off the pace in a 5-3 opening day defeat to MK Dons at The Racecourse.

But Parkinson’s men quickly adapted to playing at a higher level and emerged as genuine promotion challengers.

The competition to go straight up was fierce but Wrexham stepped up to the plate in the run-in and booked a place in League One with two games remaining, securing back-to-back promotions for the first time in the club’s history.

Wrexham finished with five successive wins to seal runners-up spot with 88 points, a club record in the Football League, and although they suffered 10 defeats in 46 outings Parkinson hailed the way his players bounced back when results didn’t go their way.

“It’s been a terrific season,” said Parkinson, who now has five promotions as manager on his CV while this season is the first time he’s celebrated taking a team up in consecutive seasons.

“We had a bit of a slow start for various reasons and took a while to adjust.

“We gradually found our feet at the level but we had a few setbacks along the way.

“I think the season we got promoted from the National League, we were almost spoilt with the amount of wins we had.

“You are going to get set-backs, you are going to get defeats, there are some good teams in League Two but it is how you respond as a group and that is the key to the season that when we have been beaten, we have found solutions.

“We have moved onto the next game quickly and we have not let a slump last too long, and I think that has been a key element in the success this season.

“It was very rewarding to finish with a promotion.”

Wrexham were pushed all the way by Notts County in a thrilling race for the National League title before taking the one automatic promotion spot.

This year it was Stockport County, who denied the Reds top spot in the National League two seasons ago, and Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town who were involved in the race for top spot.

There was relief when the Football League exile came to an end but Parkinson felt there were different challenges in the fourth tier when the Reds, owned by Hollywood mega-stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, had to deal with being the team to beat.

A 6-0 thrashing of Forest Green Rovers on another memorable day at The Racecourse guaranteed Wrexham will be playing in League One next season.

“I don’t think anybody can replace the tension of last season,” added Parkinson.

“That just stems from the fact we had been in the National League for 15 years, only one team gets promoted automatically and the head-to-head battle we had all season with Notts County.

“Going up this time, the challenge was being in a higher division and you could feel the extra incentive to beat us even more; every week, there was that desire to beat Wrexham and we were playing better teams than what we were coming up against in the National League.

“It wasn’t quite the same tension because we got the job done with two games to go and that is fantastic from our point of view to be able to do that.

“The Forest Green win got us over the line which was fantastic. It was nice to do it in convincing style with a really good performance.

“That was a really memorable day for everyone connected with the club, the atmosphere was electric, and we are delighted to get the club back into League One.”

There was no let-up after going up as Wrexham won 3-0 at Crewe before coming from behind to beat champions Stockport County 2-1 on the final day.

“I said to the staff that we could have needed to beat Stockport to get promoted,” said Parkinson.

“We would have been prepared to do that but we got the job done a couple of weeks earlier which was fantastic.”

Top scorer Paul Mullin and his team-mates have earned the plaudits for taking Wrexham up again but Parkinson was quick to praise his back-room staff.

“As a manager you need really good people above you but with you in the staff,” added the Reds’ boss.

“I am very fortunate to have outstanding people with me.

“Managing any football club can be tough at times but I have got great people who are great at the job and also good, solid characters, and it is a pleasure to come into work every day.”