JURGEN KLOPP has been suggesting recently that the return to fitness of Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is like Liverpool having two new signings, writes Mark Griffiths.

Well, Bobby Grant wasn’t even injured, but he seems like a new man for Wrexham.

I’ll admit to conflicting feelings about Grant by the end of last season. He seemed to become a scapegoat for some fans as our promotion push hit the rocks, which was totally unfair. It all seemed to come to a head at Halifax on Easter Monday. By the end of the games, the complaints about his wayward shooting were audible, and they continued on social media.

He did send some wild efforts into the Halifax fans behind the goal, but he didn’t deserve to be slated for that. In a shot-shy side, he was the one who kept looking for opportunities to pull the trigger. That sounds like something he should be applauded for. Fans beseech their players to show a bit more effort, so when a striker is clearly desperate to hit the net and get the goal that could salvage our season, shouldn’t he be applauded?

Anyway, the critics had very short memories. Grant had been our best player in the first half, and drew two magnificent saves from the Halifax goalkeeper.

Having said all that, there was no doubt that Grant didn’t live up to his billing after being shoved out of Fleetwood by Joey Barton (by the way, that’s another tick in the positive column: if he got under Barton’s skin he deserves a medal!) On paper he was a superb signing, a player with Football League pedigree who shouldn’t be schlepping around at our level.

He wasn’t helped by Sam Ricketts immediately jumping ship, but he started brightly only to fade, his trademark driving runs inside from the flank becoming predictable and merely taking him into the crowd. He wasn’t helped by an unfortunate propensity for hitting the woodwork in away games!

To be honest, I assumed he’d be one of the players Bryan Hughes would release in order to free up space in the wage budget for new strikers.

Yet he remained, and last Saturday he was sensational! His first half showing was perhaps more notable for his endeavour than his creativity. However, he tracked back tirelessly to cover the Barrow left back’s runs, even if one of his challenges did concede the free kick which they scored from.

However, the spark of rebirth, both for Grant and the team, came in the opening three minutes of the second half. Grant was a livewire, chasing everywhere and hurting the Barrow defence. In that short space of time he took the game to the visitors, driving immediately past his man, then winning a corner with some aggressive wing play, and from that earning the free kick that led to our equalizer.

When he scored the winner it felt so appropriate, but he wasn’t finished yet. His flair for the unexpected suddenly returned as he nearly came up with the most unorthodox improvised assist, lunging at hip height to prod the bouncing ball through for Mark Harris. My co-commentator, James Harrison, nailed it when he called it a Karate Kid pass!

Then, he hit the bar with a shot from his own half, even though he was falling backwards! It was a remarkable strike, but it wouldn’t have counted because he’d charged the ball down with his hand. That doesn’t matter though. Grant appears to have rediscovered his audacity; hopefully he’ll turn out to be the new signing who never went away!

Last season saw us finally end our misery against Dover, beating them at the 9th attempt. The game fell on the opening day of the season, and Mike Fondop’s improvised overhead kick was the only goal at The Crabble. Normal service was resumed in January when they beat us 1-0 at The Racecourse!

Don’t let me put you off a late decision to undertake the 562 mile slog to the Kent coast and back, but games between the sides tend to be grim affairs. In ten clashes there have been just 13 goals, and 6 of the last 7 clashes have either been goalless draws or ended 1-0!

Dover certainly have the upper hand, with five wins to our one, and we’ve managed just 4 goals in those matches! Three of those four goals came in away games, but they’re a scrappy bunch: a Connor Jennings penalty; a Jordan White equalizer which he knew little about as the ball ricocheted off the bar, onto his backside and into the net; and Fondop’s low level overhead kick.

Jake Lawlor makes his 250th career appearance today, rounding off a remarkable week for individual landmarks. In the past seven days, Paul Rutherford played in the 475th game of his career, James Jennings made his 400th career appearance, and Mark Carrington played his 200th game for Wrexham. None of them can beat Luke Young though: on Tuesday he made his 275th league appearance, 300th career appearance and 50th Wrexham appearance!

Full live commentary of the match will be on Wrexham AFC’s Mixlr channel, available on the club’s website or download the app for your mobile. Using #askwxm on Twiiter really enlivened the broadcast last season, so join the conversation and get in touch during commentary!