BRYAN HUGHES admits it will be a "bonus" if Manny Smith is available for selection before Christmas.

Smith picked up a knee injury in the 1-0 defeat at Solihull Moors on August 27 and although the centre-back played 90 minutes of Wrexham's 2-0 win over Eastleigh on December 8, he suffered a set-back and hasn't featured since.

Wrexham returned for pre-season training last Monday but Smith is not closing in on a return to action and Hughes is resigned to being without the defender until the New Year.

"Manny is the major concern," said Hughes. "He has had a bit of a rough ride over the last year.

"He has got an infection in his knee which has caused him so many problems.

"At the moment he is on really strong antibiotics to try and get rid of it.

"It is going to be a long process because he has lost so much muscle mass over the time as well.

"It has been tough for him and if we get him back before Christmas, that will be a bonus.

"But when he does come back, he will be like a new signing."

Smith, fellow centre-back Jake Lawlor, who dislocated a shoulder which ruled him out of last season's run-in, goalkeeper Rob Lainton, midfielder Luke Summerfield and strikers Jason Oswell and Mike Fondop, all missed Saturday's opening friendly win at Cefn Druids.

Wrexham continue their pre-season programme against Fleetwood on Friday before heading to a training camp in Portugal but Hughes expects the majority of absentees to be available when the Reds return from the Algarve and head to Telford United on July 13.

"The others are knocking on the door," added Hughes.

"Jake, Luke and Jason have been joining in training, doing part-training for most of the first week.

"They will step that up again this week and hopefully a couple of them will play some part in Portugal, or definitely by the time we come back against Telford."