SAM FINLEY revealed just how close he came to signing for Wrexham last summer.

The midfielder was out of contract at AFC Fylde and even met with newly appointed Reds manager Sam Ricketts.

Talks went well and Finley, who had a loan spell at The Racecourse in 2015 when Kevin Wilkin was in the hotseat, was offered a "very good contract", with the 26-year-old close to putting pen to paper.

However, Accrington Stanley came in with a last minute offer and Finley could not turn down the chance to play League One football for the first time in his career.

"I took a gamble signing for Accrington," said Finley. "I met Sam and he offered me a very good contract.

"We had a good chat and I was pleased with everything he was saying, talking about getting Wrexham into the Football League.

"It did not work out with Sam at Wrexham as he jumped up to League One but I was very close to signing.

"I did not have many other offers and that was the best on the table but then my agent phoned to say John Coleman had made a 'take it or leave it' offer.

"It was less money than Wrexham but a chance to play in League One.

"No disrespect to Wrexham but I could not turn down League One, it is great thing for me because I have not played in that division before."

Finley penned a two year deal with Accrington and made 37 league appearances last season, scoring one goal, as Stanley finished a respectable 14th.

"I am doing alright," said Finley. "I had a good pre-season and the first few games I was on the bench coming on.

"Then I cemented my place and near enough played every game.

"I am enjoying it."

While Finley was enjoying his first experience of the Football League, former club Fylde, where he spent three seasons and was handed the captaincy after leaving Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints, and Wrexham were battling it out in the fifth tier.

Wrexham finished fourth, clinching a play-off spot for the first time in six years, but the Reds were beaten 1-0 in the eliminator by Eastleigh who progressed following a wonder goal by captain Spitfires captain Danny Holland.

"It was some goal, a screamer," said Finley. "I fancied Wrexham but obviously it was not to be."

Fylde came even closer to promotion as the Coasters reached the play-off final but big-spending Salford City triumphed 3-0 at Wembley to secure a place in the Football League.

"I always backed Salford to go up," said Finley. "I fancied them at the start for automatic promotion and if not, through the play-offs.

"Leyton Orient were champions but Salford have got so much experience in the squad and it worked out for them in the play-offs.

"Experience counts for a lot in the play-offs. Players who have played at a higher level and in big games who don't let the big occasion get to them.

"Just try and play it like a normal game and Salford did it."

Wrexham, preparing for a 12th season in non-league, and Fylde will again be expected to challenge for promotion in 2019-20 and Finley explained why it will be a big year for the Mill Farm outfit.

"This is Fylde's last year to get out of the division," said Finley.

"The chairman made a statement a few years ago saying they would be in the Football League by 2020 and they have got 2020 on the sleeves of the shirts.

"It is a big year for Fylde without him looking stupid.

"Wrexham will want to be up there too and try and get automatic promotion but it is so tough."

The competition will be just as fierce, with the likes of Solihull Moors and relegated Notts County expected to challenge, with just one team promoted automatically.

"It's the toughest league I have played in," added Finley.

"I have spoken to players who have played at a higher level and worked their way down and they have said it is the toughest league they have played in.

"Not ability-wise, even though it is a high standard, but in terms of getting out of the division with just one team winning automatic promotion, and then the lottery of the play-offs. It is so tough."