Sam Ricketts is intent on securing a major prize for Wrexham in the new Vanarama National League season.
The former Welsh international believes the Dragons are among six or seven clubs capable of securing automatic promotion and says: “That has to be our aim. There is no other reason you come to work every day.”
Wrexham are keen to join Newport County in the Football League and Ricketts has signed eight new players in his quest to deliver the dream.
“We’re trying to change the dynamics a bit with pace, power and youthful energy coming into the side and new ideas,” says Ricketts.
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“Everybody needs to feel pressure for their places. I think that’s what pushes all players.
“We are a healthy squad size going into the season.
“There are plenty of options to keep players fresh, cover for injuries and suspensions.
“It’s not going to be easy and there are probably five or six other clubs saying exactly the same thing.”
Wrexham, relegated from the Football League in 2008, start their National League season against Kent club Dover Athletic at Crabble Top on Saturday and Ricketts has accepted the challenge in his first managerial role.
The North Walians finished 10th last season, four points outside the play-off positions. They earned only seven points from a possible 27 following the departure of manager Dean Keates to Walsall.
Ricketts brought in his eighth signing of the summer with the arrival of Brighton loanee Jordan Maguire-Drew.
“The start of our season is full on, a hectic start involving two matches a week,” he says.
Dover have not lost in their last eight matches against Wrexham, winning four and drawing four.
“Wrexham are one of the massive clubs who have been in the Football League and probably feel they have been at this level for too long.
“They have bought a new manger in and invested in a lot of players in the summer.
“They are competitive every season and will want to go one better this time, but so do we and we won’t be any less inspired to do well.”
Wrexham’s newly signed Cameroon forward Mike Fondop, signed from Guiseley, is full of confidence after scoring five goals in six pre-season matches.
One of the biggest battles will be in goal where new signing Rob Lainton goes head-to-head with Christian Dibble, the son of former Wales and Cardiff City player Andy.
Lainton started last season as Vale’s first choice goalkeeper and is a former Bolton Wanderers ‘keeper.
Wrexham’s new signings this summer: Luke Young (midfield, from Torquay), Rob Lainton (goalkeeper, from Port Vale), Luke Summerfield (midfield, from Grimsby), Mike Fondop (striker, from Guiseley), Rekell Pyke (striker, loan from Huddersfield under-23), Freddie Hinds (striker, loan from Bristol City under-23), Stuart Beavon (striker, from Coventry City), Doug Tharme (defender, from Wrexham under-18).
Wrexham squad numbers
1. Christian Dibble
2. Kevin Roberts
3. James Jennings
4. Manny Smith
5. Shaun Pearson
7. Luke Summerfield
8. Luke Young
9. Mike Fondop
10. Chris Holroyd
11. Rekeil Pyke
13. Mark Carrington
14. Paul Rutherford
17. Nicky Deverdics
18. Rob Lainton
19. Freddie Hinds
20. Akil Wright
21. Leo Smith
23. Stuart Beavon
24. Doug Tharme
Saturday’s other Vanarama National League fixtures: Salford City v Leyton Orient, Fylde v Bromley, Barrow v Havant and Waterlooville, Aldershot v Barnet, Boredom Wood v Dagenham and Redbridge, Braintree Town v Halifax Town, Eastleigh v Solihull Moors, Ebbsfleet United v Chesterfield, Harrogate Town v Sutton United, Maidenhead United v Gateshead.
Wrexham pre-season results: lost 2-3 v Macclesfield; drew 1-1 at Telford; lost 1-3 v Bangor City; drew 2-2 v Louletano DC; won 2-0 v Airbus Uk; won 2-1 v Lex Glyndwr; won 3-2 v Forest Green Rovers.
Wrexham AFC fixtures 2018-19
Vanarama National League
Saturday 4 Dover v Wrexham
Tuesday 7 Wrexham v AFC Fylde
Saturday 11 Wrexham v Boredom Wood
Tuesday 14 Maidenhead v Wrexham
Saturday 18 Eastleigh v Wrexham
Saturday 25 Wrexham v Bromley
Monday 27 Solihull Moors v Wrexham
Saturday 1 Wrexham v Aldershot
Tuesday 4 Wrexham v Halifax
Saturday 8 Braintree v Wrexham
Saturday 15 Wrexham v Ebbsfleet
Saturday 22 Sutton United v Wrexham
Tuesday 25 Harrogate Town v Wrexham
Saturday 29 Wrexham v Barnet
Saturday 6 Wrexham v Havant and Waterlooville
Saturday 13 Dagenham and Redbridge v Wrexham
Saturday 27 Chesterfield v Wrexham
Tuesday 30 Wrexham v Hartlepool
Saturday 3 Wrexham v Gateshead
Saturday 17 Maidstone v Wrexham
Saturday 24 Wrexham v Leyton Orient
Tuesday, November 27 Barrow v Wrexham
Saturday 1 Bromley v Wrexham
Saturday 8 Wrexham v Eastleigh
Saturday 22 Aldershot v Wrexham
Wednesday 26 Wrexham v Salford City
Saturday 29 Wrexham v Solihull Moors
Saturday 1 Salford City v Wrexham
Saturday 5 Wrexham v Dover
Saturday 19 AFC Fylde v Wrexham
Saturday 26 Wrexham v Maidenhead
Saturday 2 Boreham Wood v Wrexham
Saturday 9 Wrexham v Dagenham and Redbridge
Saturday 16 Havant and Waterlooville v Wrexham
Saturday 23 Gateshead v Wrexham
Saturday 2 Wrexham v Chesterfield
Saturday 9 Leyton Orient v Wrexham
Tuesday 12 Wrexham v Barrow
Saturday 16 Wrexham v Maidstone
Saturday 23 Hartlepool v Wrexham
Saturday 30 Ebbsfleet v Wrexham
Saturday 6 Wrexham v Braintree
Saturday 13 Barnet v Wrexham
Friday 19 Wrexham v Sutton United
Monday 22 Halifax v Wrexham
Saturday 27 Wrexham v Harrogate Town
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