BRYAN HUGHES admits he would like to re-establish a reserves side at The Racecourse.

Wrexham have been without a second string since deciding to opt out of the Central League at the end of the 2016-17 season when Dean Keates was in charge of the Reds.

Although clinching promotion back to the Football League is the priority - Wrexham are preparing for a 12th campaign in the fifth tier - Hughes, who took over as manager in February, is keen to have a reserves team.

The Reds boss sited a number of reasons why it would benefit him and his squad of players, although he says having a side in place for the 2019-20 season might not be possible.

"It is something I am looking into," said Hughes. "I am for it.

"As you know, everything depends on cost and being cost-effective.

"The first port of call for me now is to try and get us into the Football League but in a blue-sky world I would love to have a reserve team.

"Especially the squad that we had this year, it gives people a chance to sort of keep that match fitness so when it does come down to that crucial time of the season, you know that people are ready and raring to go so I think there are benefits to it."

Hughes feels that reserve matches are the next step up for youth team players to continue their development.

"It gives you a chance to look at some of the academy players coming through and that integration with the first team lads as well, so it is not alien for them when they do make the step up," said Hughes.

"It has got lots of benefits that I am a big believer in, whether it happens this year or not I am still in negotiations to see where we are at but we'll see."

Doug Tharme, who has signed a new one year contract, is the kind of player who would have benefited from reserve team action this season.

The highly rated centre-back came through the ranks at The Racecourse and signed his first professional deal last summer.

With Wrexham challenging for promotion and the Reds defence - marshalled by influential captain Shaun Pearson - keeping a club record equalling 26 clean sheets, Tharme found opportunities limited.

Tharme made five appearances in total and Hughes, impressed with his performance in the final day win over Harrogate Town when he rang the changes ahead of the play-offs, is looking for the 19-year-old to push on again next season.

"It is great that Doug has agreed to stay," said Hughes.

"He is a good player and he played really well in the final game against Harrogate along with the rest of the team.

"He is still a young man and has still got a lot to learn but I like what I have seen of Doug and he is knocking on the door of the first team."