BRYAN HUGHES hailed the contribution of Pat Jones after the 16-year-old made his surprise first team debut at Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

Players who weren't involved in the 3-1 midweek defeat against Stoke City were on duty at The Tameside Stadium and first year scholar Jones was included in the starting XI alongside more senior team-mates.

Jones, who played on the right flank, only recently celebrated his 16th birthday and he earned rave reviews from Hughes -a product of the club's youth system in the 1990s himself - as Wrexham sealed a 2-0 win.

"It gives them that experience playing alongside some of the first-teamers and I thought Pat was excellent considering he just turned 16 last month," said Hughes.

"When you look at it from that angle, it is an unbelievable performance.

"I am sure he must have felt a bit of pressure coming into the first team wanting to impress myself and he certainly did.

"He didn't look like he was nervous. He was brave in possession, he caused them problems right through to the 90th minute so a really positive performance from Pat alongside the other lads - Jack Thorn, Matty Sargent, Doug Tharme and Bobby Beaumont.

"They are still learning the game but these games and playing alongside the likes of Mark Carrington, Luke Young and Devonte Redmond, it is going to stand them in good stead and it gives them that experience value."

As well as heading into a 12th season in non-league, Wrexham will play in the Scottish Challenge Cup as well as the FA Cup and FA Trophy.

Wrexham qualified for the SCC as one of the two highest ranked teams still remaining in the National League from last season and Hughes is set to give youngsters their chance in the cup competitions.

"What I am trying to bring to the club is a really strong squad and if I can integrate some of the young lads into that as well, I will do," said Hughes.

"The National League campaign is going to be a long season and we have got cup competitions along the way so some of these young boys might be getting their chances.

"Once they get a chance, it is up to them to take it."

Leighton McIntosh and Jason Oswell scored in the second half as Wrexham beat Curzon in their penultimate friendly.

Hughes was delighted to see two of his strikers in the goals with the new season less than a fortnight away.

"That will do both of them a world of good," said Hughes.

"It is always nice when forwards get in the goals, especially in pre-season.

"We are sort of spreading the goals out throughout the team now.

"Both of them worked hard as well, Leighton playing on that left-side as one of the number 10s and Jason playing the number nine role like he does.

"I was really pleased to see them both get on the scoresheet; the pair of them could have had a couple more but happy with that."

Hughes says his players - regardless of age - won't need reminding how much returning Wrexham to the Football League means to Reds supporters.

"From day one with my recruitment of Brian Flynn and Michael Oakes in my coaching team, I want people around who know what it means to the fans here," said Hughes.

"How much it means for us to try and get out of this National League and back into the Football League, and that is with the players as well.

"The players need to feel it and understand it, and they are.

"We went close last season but hopefully this season we are going to go one step further.

"Everyone, whether you are a youth team player right through to one of the most experienced first team players, is going to be on that understanding of what we are trying to achieve."