TT OPPOSITION Q&A
Aled Roberts discusses his team Wrexham AFC ahead of Monday’s fixture.
Hi Aled, so how would you sum up Wrexham’s season so far in a couple of paragraphs?
Started with some promise but soon ended with a form that many Wrexham fans have grown use to for the past 5 years. Then came the rumours that there could be a takeover which felt at the time not realistic but sooner or later became a reality. Many fans at that point felt more positive about the future, regardless of whether we gained promotion this season or in 2 seasons time.
At the mid point of the takeover, the team gained momentum and they were spurred on. Maybe because of the win bonus but whatever it was, the team found a rhythm and went on 2 unbeaten runs with a loss separating each run. There were some great performances in that time too, for example the 3-0 win against Bromley.
But recently we have lost one of our main forwards for the remainder of the season in Kwame Thomas, who recently has found a brilliant partnership with Dior Angus. Ponticelli gained an injury during the Notts game on Good Friday and it seems that he could be out for a lengthy time also. Even with these out of our forward line we held our own against Notts but didn’t threaten their defence. Because we are under the Welsh FA we are subject to international clearance (required because we have to get signings cleared by UEFA) and because of that we are restricted to only sign players during the 2 transfer windows, unlike the others in the NL who aren’t. So for the remainder of the season we have to manage the players we have available, unless there are players available and have been free agents since before the January transfer window ended.
How’s the teams recent form been?
We have only lost 2 in our last 15 games, our last being in our game last Friday. We definitely could have won it, if we had not gained an injury to Thomas and Ponti during the match, but didn’t deserve to lose it. A draw would of been a fair result. The defence has been solid, conceding 7 in 9 with 5 clean sheets in that time while winning 3 of our last 5 games. But with our recent injuries and both in the forward line, it could affect our form in our next games as one of our main forwards are not available for the rest of the season.
What have been your highlights of the season so far?
The highlights of the season have been primarily the club takeover, with some positive moves behind the scenes. Impressive performances this season have been the 3-0 win against Bromley, 4-0 win against Sutton, coming back from 2-0 down away to Weymouth eventually winning it 3-2. The Bromley game was a brilliant example of when the team clicks and everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Was a brilliant team performance.
Who are your key players and why?
Earlier in the season I would of said Rob Lainton, but both goalies have done brilliant between the sticks. The key players would be Dior Angus for certain as he is a massive threat going forwards and can create problems for opposition defences. With 2 of our forwards injured, I don’t know how it will affect his play with the 2 others that could play alongside him, but they have hardly played in a forward position this season usually behind the forwards. Jordan Davies (local lad) showed glimpses earlier in the season of the quality that we know he has. He has grown as the season has progressed and has influenced recent games, as well as scoring his first goal for the club about 2 games ago. Reece Hall-Johnson is a pacey right back is a threat going forwards, can cross the ball into the danger zone and create chances for those in the box.
What’s the likely line up for the team on Monday?
We usually play a 3-5-2 with Lainton in goal as our preferred goalie, with French, Pearson and Vassell as our back 3. Reckord and Hall-Johnson our the wing backs, with Davies, Young (which I assume you all know about him) and Durrell as a midfield 3. Up front we’ll have Angus and, because of a lack of forwards, we may have Jarvis up front. He may swap with Durrell and have Durrell up top with Angus.
What should we expect from the Wrexham stream?
The quality of the picture and sound of the video is decent. Pre-match, half-time and post match you will usually have Bryn Law or Ex-Wrexham player/manger Andy Morrell and Lucy Scott talking. This includes interviews with Dean Keates before and after the game. We usually also have a Wrexham player also but after the match. During the game the main commentator is accompanied by The Beast (Mark Creighton an ex defender) or Andy Morrell. Also, you may think you are seeing something moving alongside the pitch (and think you are seeing things) but you aren’t. They are real LED advertisement boards.
Do you fancy your chances for promotion?
Before the injuries to our forwards I thought we had a chance but didn’t expect it after last season’s performance. Do think that play offs are possible but anything beyond that would be a bonus, as I don’t expect us to go up.
How have the new owners settled into the task and are you happy with what they’ve done so far?
They have settled in really well and seem to get the town very well and understand the community. The work behind the scenes has been great, appointing a CEO Fleur Robinson from Burton Albion, after 25 years at the Brewers, is quite a statement. She does have experience with promotion and what is required, with being in a title race as a commercial manager.
Which opposition teams and players have impressed you most?
Stockport and Torquay have impressed me, but that was earlier in the season. If I had to think of anyone else more recently, probably Weymouth and Hartlepool who play decent football. Even though Weymouth lost to us, they didn’t lose heart and kept going.
And finally, give us a prediction for Monday afternoon?
I think it will be a tough game and will be a closer contested match, compared to our previous meeting earlier in the season. My prediction will be similar to the one given to that one but think this one will end 2-1 to Wrexham, with Torquay scoring theirs after our second. Definitely think Wright could be a problem as ex-Wrexham players usually score against us.