Wrexham dust down after last season's disappointment

Wrexham's player-manager Andy Morrell scores

Under any other circumstances, Wrexham would now be looking ahead to a season back in the Football League.

Last season's total of 98 points would, in any other season, have secured automatic promotion to League Two.

But it was big-spending Fleetwood Town, rather than the Dragons, who won the Blue Square Bet Premier title and a place for the first time in the Football League.

And Wrexham's disappointment was compounded in the play-offs as they lost to Luton Town in the semi-finals for the second successive season.

Wrexham have had to dust themselves down before, but they are in a far healthier position now than they were 12 months ago.

This time last year there were doubts surrounding Wrexham's very existence and the local community rallied round, which galvanised the club.

With the club now owned by the Supporters' Trust and player-manager Andy Morrell at the helm, things seem to be looking up for 'The Town,' who are reporting their best season ticket sales for over 30 years.

Players inevitably left the club during the close season, most notably Nat Knight-Percival, Mathias Pogba and Jake Speight.

But crucially, Morrell has managed to retain the services of most of last season's squad, who also reached the FA Cup third round.

Captain Dean Keates and Jay Harris's contributions from midfield will once again be crucial while full-back Neil Ashton has been a consistent performer.

Morrell has not been afraid to give youngsters their chance and there are high hopes for striker Jay Colbeck and defender Declan Walker.

The player-manager has also added to his squad during the summer, recruiting young goalkeeper Andy Coughlin and defender Martin Riley.

But it is the signature of striker Brett Ormerod from Blackpool which has grabbed the headlines.

The 35-year-old's experience will be vital, especially with last season's top-scorer Speight having departed for Mansfield.

Morrell, who will be in charge for his first full season after succeeding Dean Saunders in September 2011, will also have his part to play on the field.

The player-manager has been satisfied with Wrexham's preparations for the new season but knows the real work and scrutiny starts now.

"We went so close last year and it's going to be really difficult to do the same again," he said, ahead of Wrexham's first match against newly-promoted Woking at the Racecourse on Saturday.

He is naturally aiming for automatic promotion - but is also hopeful of "third time lucky" if they do end up having to face the lottery of the play-offs.

"If you can get on a little run and get that momentum behind you, anything's possible," he said.

"That's what we'll be aiming to do, just get on a good run and try and hang in there for as long as we can."

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