DOUG THARME wants more first team action this season - regardless of the formation used by Wrexham boss Bryan Hughes.

The centre-back came through the ranks at The Racecourse and signed his first professional contract last summer but was restricted to just five appearances last season with the Reds defence keeping a club record equalling 26 clean sheets.

Hughes has favoured a 4-3-3 system since taking charge in February but he has experimented with a 3-4-3 formation in pre-season.

The latter means more centre-backs in the side, and the potential for more opportunities for Tharme, but the 19-year-old is determined to play his way into Hughes' plans whatever system he goes with.

"It is nice to see that we can chop and change," said Tharme.

"We have played 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 so it is good to know that we have got a couple of systems in our arsenal that we can bring out if we are struggling to break down a team, or if we need to change it so we are more defensively solid.

"Whatever it is, I am going to try and push for the first team.

"Last year was a change for me being part of the professional set-up; this season I want to kick on and become a part of the first team.

"I am desperate to play football."

Tharme, who is competing for a starting place with captain Shaun Pearson, Jake Lawlor, Adam Barton and Manny Smith, when fit, certainly has faith in his own ability.

"We might play two at the back or someone might be injured," said Tharme.

"I have always had the mindset that whoever is in front of me is competition and the gaffer sees them as the better players, the ones that he thinks can do the job.

"I have got to prove in training and any games that I play that I am there as an option; that he can bring me in and it won't weaken the team. "If anything, I would like to think that I can strengthen the team so that is my goal every time I step on the field."

Tharme made his comeback from injury in Saturday's 2-0 win against Curzon Ashton and the defender had no qualms about missing a few friendlies to ensure he was fit and available for the start of the new season.

"It was my thigh," said Tharme.

"You want to be ready for that first week of the season, that first league game, and you have got to think of the games coming up in September and October, and the cups we are in."

First year pros Matty Sargent and Jack Thorn, and scholars Bobby Beaumont and Pat Jones, all started at The Tameside Stadium, making Tharme feel like an established first team regular.

"It was just like any other game," added Tharme. "I like to consider myself a leader, whether I am the youngest on the pitch or one of the oldest.

"It was good to get out there and good to get 90 minutes under my belt."