Simon Ainge has played in the National League as a defender and he is now eager to prove himself at this level as a striker.

The 30-year-old, who has joined Wrexham on loan from Harrogate Town until the end of the season, made a huge impact for the National League North leaders after switching to an attacking role, scoring 33 goals in the calendar year of 2017.

Back in the fifth tier with Wrexham, Ainge hopes to pick up where he left off and help boost Wrexham’s promotion challenge.

“It has been a really good season at Harrogate, I have always said I want to test myself as high as I can,” said Ainge.

“Moving from a defender to a striker, this is the next step and I am here to help go for promotion.

“I have played at this level for Halifax, Cambridge and Luton as a defender, and I was at Bradford City in my younger days.

“I want to test myself. I think I have proven myself in the league below as a striker and I have come here wanting to prove that I can do it at a higher level.

“I am confident in my own ability, it is up to me to prove it now and help this team kick on.”

A lack of strike options saw Harrogate manager Simon Weaver put Ainge up front and the experiment worked.

“It was credit to the manager,” said Ainge. “I have always chipped in with a few goals from set-pieces but we had no-one up front.

“The first game he put me up front was around January last year and I scored four. I think the next game I scored two and the next game I scored three so I didn’t look back.

“It has given me a new lease of life in football and I am enjoying it.”

Ainge made his debut as a late substitute in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against promotion rivals Aldershot Town at The Racecourse.

“I was here one day so if I’d expected to start in my first game it would have been a bit naive of me,” said Ainge.

“I was hoping to get as long as I could off the bench and I was glad to get on for 10 minutes.”

Wrexham led twice through Scott Quigley and Ainge almost had an immediate impact, nodding the ball down for the striker who fired wide with only the goalkeeper.

Although Quigley failed to score a winner, Ainge was impressed with him.

“Scott did really well, he scored two goals and worked his socks off,” added Ainge.

“It would have been great to get the hat-trick and that winner but it wasn’t to be.”

Reds boss Dean Keates is delighted to have Ainge for the run-in.

“Simon is different to what we have got up top,” said Keates. “He can win headers and he puts himself about.

“You look at his goal return in the calendar year, he got 35 goals in 50 appearances, so he will arrive on crosses for us.”

Wrexham’s promotion rivals, Boreham Wood, could climb into second spot with a home victory over Maidenhead tonight, while struggling Barrow head to basement outfit Guiseley with both teams in need of points.