PAUL RUTHERFORD has seen a lot of changes in his time at The Racecourse but the winger hopes manager Bryan Hughes has found the recipe for success.

Although Wrexham are heading into a 12th season in non-league, they do so on the back of a campaign that saw the Reds secure a play-off spot for the first time in six years when their promotion hopes were ended by Eastleigh.

After going so close, Hughes has kept the nucleus of the squad and brought in eight new signings - Devonte Redmond, Leighton McIntosh, JJ Hooper, Mark Harris, Adam Barton, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Michael Chambers and Dawid Szczepaniak - in a bid to go one step further.

Rutherford, preparing for a fourth season at the club, believes the new arrivals have fitted in seemlessly and he feels Hughes has a group of players all desperate to win promotion.

“It is brilliant, everyone just fits in together,” said Rutherford. “The one thing I have noticed is the transition between squads has been brilliant.

“I was looking around the training ground the other day and I think there was only five of us that were here two seasons ago, but it doesn’t feel like that.

“It feels like the group has been together much longer and the togetherness we have got, and the way the new lads have come in and fitted in, there seems to be a good dynamic there and that’s exactly what you need going into a long season.

“We have got a bit of everything in the squad.

“The big thing I get from everyone is we are all ambitious. Everyone wants to go and achieve something, everyone wants to go and achieve that promotion.”

Rutherford refuses to dwell on the heartbreaking extra-time play-off defeat to Eastleigh and takes heart from the progress made on the pitch, something Wrexham can take into the 2019-20 campaign.

“I am a positive person and although last season was a bitter pill to swallow how it ended, if you look at the bigger picture it was progress again,” said Rutherford.

“It was the first time the club has been in the play-offs for six years, we finished fourth in the league, we had a good points tally and we weren’t too many off top.

“It is just fine margins that separated us from being fourth and top of the league.

“Hopefully we have recruited well in the summer which it looks like we have, our pre-season form has been okay and I see a lot of positives again going into the season.”

Rutherford, used to battling it out at the other end of the table with previous clubs Chester, Barrow and Southport before signing for Wrexham in the summer of 2016, is desperate to win a promotion and knows how much it would mean to everyone at The Racecourse.

“It is massive to everyone,” said Rutherford. “I have said before that I want to be known as a winner.

“I don’t want to be known as an also-ran, or I did quite well. I want a promotion on the CV.

“This club getting promoted would be so special and something that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

“It would be unbelievable getting the club promoted. We have been here for 12 years and in my opinion it is the hardest league to get out of.

“I don’t think it is anything to do with the club. Maybe the playing squads over the years haven’t quite cut it but the fanbase, the infrastructure and the playing squad, everything is going in the right direction and everyone wants the same things.

“It is massive time for me now.”

Wrexham’s opening day home clash with Rutheford’s former Barrow tomorrow afternoon is the first of eight games in August and Rutherford expects Hughes to utilise his squad in the first few months.

“By the time you break it down, you are a quarter of the way through the season after the first couple of weeks in September so it is condensed quite heavily,” said Rutherford. “That’s why the squad is what it is, that is why we have got options there.

“We are fortunate that we have got lads who can play in numerous positions so in terms of shuffling it around, you may not necessarily have to change personnel lots of times. You can can sort of rotate the lads.

“We have got a 20-man squad and you can rotate positions, rotate players, do allsorts within that. I think we have got great flexibility within the squad.”