IT might be 12 months later than expected but Christian Dibble is excited to start the National League season as Wrexham’s number one.

Dibble has played all seven of the Reds pre-season friendlies after Rob Lainton suffered what boss Bryan Hughes described as a “freak” ankle injury.

Many thought that Dibble would be Sam Ricketts’ first choice goalkeeper last season, but the former Reds manager opted to hand the then on-loan Lainton a chance to impress, and he didn’t disappoint.

Fast forward a year and Dibble looks set to benefit from Lainton’s injury as Barrow head to The Racecourse tomorrow afternoon.

“It’s really exciting. It’s been a while since I started the season, so I’m looking forward to it if the gaffer gives me an opportunity to start the game,” said Dibble with understandable caution.

“I will go in, be bright and confident, and hopefully we can get three points.”

Asked about losing the battle with Lainton last season, Dibble continued: “I think the manager wanted to bring in another goalkeeper to push me and for me to push Rob.

“I’m never bitter about it, I’m professional and go about my business. It is difficult to take at times because you come in and you want to play, but when you aren’t you get your head down and do the best you can.”

Now Dibble is hoping he can keep Lainton, who won the club’s 2018/19 player of the season award, on the sidelines even when he returns from injury.

“If I get the opportunity to play the games from the start of the season through to when Rob comes back it’s then about trying to keep the shirt,” said Dibble. “That’s the main thing, isn’t it?”

It’s the unusual life of a goalkeeper that they benefit from one another’s misfortune. Dibble and Lainton are close friends, meaning it’s tough for the former to see his team-mate injured.

“It’s not easy the life of a goalkeeper,” he said. “Rob and I push each other to the brink on the training ground and we’re very professional, but off the pitch we’re good mates.

“It’s good to be friends and it’s good to push each other.

“It’s not good to see a team-mate get an injury, but it gives me a chance to come in and show people what I can do over a few games.”

During pre-season, Dibble has played behind a back three and Wrexham’s usual four-man defence as Hughes looks to increase his side’s versatility.

Dibble insists that formations mean very little to him with his objective remaining the same in every single game.

“For a keeper it’s just about keeping the ball out of the net,” he declared. “You learn the players’ strengths and weaknesses in a back four or five, but I don’t think it matters what formation we play, when we go into the first game we know what we’ve got to do - and that’s be on the front foot and attack teams.

“We’ve got to think about getting the three points against Barrow and then going to Boreham Wood and Dover, because they will be fired up.”