Dave Raven set out on his professional career playing alongside the likes of Steven Gerrard, Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher for Liverpool.
Today, 14 years later, defender Raven, who made four first team appearances for Liverpool, is plying his trade 40 miles down the road from Merseyside and is intent on helping Wrexham earn promotion to the Football League.
He looks likely to be in Wrexham’s starting line-up when they play Woking away in another huge Vanarama National League fixture at Kingfield Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
Raven, from West Kirby on the Wirrall peninsular, made his full debut in Wrexham’s 2-0 cross-border derby win against Chester City and made a major impact.
The Dragons kept their 20th clean sheet of the season and Raven, signed from Inverness Caledonian Thistle, slotted seamlessly into the back four.
He started at full-back against Chester and then switched to centre-back when Manny Smith had to go off with a hip injury during the first half.
“Dave Raven was absolutely outstanding,” said Wrexham goalscorer Scott Quigley. “He came in as full-back cover for Jenno (James Jennings), moved to centre-half and was absolutely fantastic.
“When you’ve got that sort of versatility from players in the changing room then you won’t be far away from being on top of the league.”
Manager Dean Keates picked out goalkeeper Chris Dunn and Raven after the crucial win against Chester.
Dunn, the former Coventry City and Cambridge United goalkeeper, is Wrexham’s first choice and his outstanding second half save from Lucas Dawson helped to push Wrexham on to victory.
“I’m happy for the lads who have earned 20 clean sheets for the season and set a club record,” said Keates. “We take great pride in that and we’ve always got a chance.
“Raves was outstanding. He went at full-back when we played Tranmere, started in that position against Chester and moved to the centre when Manny went down.
“He stayed calm and had a big effect on the team.
“Dunn made a good save, but that’s his job. He’ll say that as well because he’s a great pro. If you shoot from 25 yards out it’ll take some strike to get past him from there.
“Against the arch enemy it’s good to see and now are prepared for a massive game against Woking.”
Quigley and Nicky Deverdics scored Wrexham’s goals against Chester and extended their unbeaten run to 13 fixtures.
There are nine fixtures left for Wrexham during the regular season and they are fourth, eight points behind leaders Macclesfield.
Wrexham FC’s remaining Vanarama National League fixtures
Saturday 17 Woking v Wrexham (3pm)
Saturday 24 Wrexham v Maidstone United (Wrexham, 3pm)
Friday 30 Bromley v Wrexham (3pm)
Monday 2 Wrexham v Boredom Wood (3pm)
Saturday 7 Eastleigh v Wrexham (3pm)
Tuesday 10 Ebbsfleet v Wrexham (7.45pm)
Saturday 14 Wrexham v Dagenham and Redbridge (3pm)
Saturday 21 Leyton Orient v Wrexham (3pm)
Saturday 28 Wrexham v AFC Fylde (12.30pm)
Vanarama National League fixtures this evening: Boredom Wood v Maidenhead United, Halifax Town v Dagenham and Redbridge, Gateshead v Solihull Moors, Leyton Orient v Torquay United.
Postponed: Bromley v Barrow.
Vanarama National League Table
|11.||Dagenham and Redbridge||36||10||2||7||4||7||6||14||9||13||54||49||5||51|
|17.||FC Halifax Town||36||6||4||7||4||8||7||10||12||14||39||47||-8||42|