BRYAN HUGHES wants to see more leaders on the pitch and not over-rely on Shaun Pearson.

Reds' captain Pearson has been struggling with a back problem and wasn't in the side for Tuesday's 3-1 home defeat against Barrow.

The Bluebirds opened the scoring after three minutes and capitalised on two more errors to lead 3-0 at the break, Kieran Kennedy's second half goal just a consolation.

Hughes acknowledged how much of an influence Pearson has on the team but says more players need to step up to the plate, especially when things aren't going promotion chasing Wrexham's way.

"When you concede an early goal like we did you are looking for them leadership qualities on the pitch and there wasn't enough of that," said Hughes.

"That is where Shaun does come into it. The club captain can galvanise the players, especially that back four.

"We looked a bit shaky early on, for whatever reason; I had confidence in Jake Lawlor and Keiran Kennedy playing together because they have played together recently and played really well.

"Hopefully it was just one of those nights but we do need a few more leaders out there.

"We are not going to get it our own way all the time, Shaun is a big influence when times go hard."

Wrexham made a poor start but Hughes admits the third goal in first half injury time was the killer blow.

"We just didn't start the game well enough," said Hughes. "Conceding the first goal within three minutes is disappointing from a set-piece where we are usually strong.

"I think the goal just before half-time was the sucker punch because you can try and galvanise the team at half-time, at 2-0 down, to get a response, which we have done a lot of times this season.

"But their third goal really killed us off. We had a response, a little go at them second half but the damage was done early doors."