PHIL PARKINSON say Mark Howard is the perfect role model for young goalkeepers at The Racecourse and has never let him down when selected in the first-team.

Veteran stopper Howard, who celebrates his 38th birthday in September, has put pen to paper on a new contract and will remain with Wrexham for the 2024-25 League One season.

Brought in during the summer of 2022, Howard made 39 appearances in all competitions and helped Wrexham secure the National League title following a record-breaking 2022-23 campaign.

Chances were limited last term but he still played 10 matches as the Reds finished runners-up in League Two to secure back-to-back promotions for the first time in the club's history.

He may have been second choice but Parkinson was keen to retain the services of Howard because he feels young Reds keepers Luke McNicholas and Liam Hall can learn a lot from him.

"Mark has been good with the young goalkeepers and that is really key for us," said Parkinson.

"He is great on the training ground and like Steven Fletcher (who has also signed a new deal), he is another good role model for our younger players.

"I am pleased Mark is staying with us for another year."

Howard, who was reunited with Parkinson when he joined Wrexham having played under the 56-year-old when the duo were at Bolton Wanderers, was a regular when he first arrived in north Wales before being replaced by Rob Lainton and then Ben Foster.

When former England international Foster went back into retirement in August, Howard returned to the side but found opportunities when Arthur Okonkwo came in as a replacement on a season-long loan from Arsenal before the summer transfer window closed.

However, Parkinson says Howard has proved he can still do a good job when called upon.

"Mark is still very fit for his age, he really looks after himself," added the Reds' boss.

"He trains really well every day.

"He has always done well for us when he has been selected but more importantly, he is a great lad to have in the building."

Okonkwo played a key role in last season's promotion campaign as he made 40 appearances in all competitions, keeping 16 clean sheet.

The 22-year-old, named in the League Two Team of the Season along with Reds’ team-mate Elliot Lee, is now a free-agent following his release by Arsenal and co-chairman Rob McElhenney revealed Wrexham are hopeful of keeping the player.

Parkinson, looking to strengthen his squad and bring in another goalkeeper ahead of Wrexham's first season in League One since 2004-05, is a big admirer of Okonkwo but he has attracted interest from other clubs.