Cards face face tough trip
6:12am, Thu 5th Jan 2017
Wrexham v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 7 January 2017
Following their two holiday defeats against Aldershot Town the Cards now sit in the bottom four and, with a tough programme ahead of them, will have their work cut out to pull themselves clear of the relegation places. First up on Saturday is a trip to Wrexham, a club that is once again under-performing this season but who have a decent home record. The Cards will have to pull out all the stops and play with all the commitment shown on New Yearâ€™s Day if they are to come away with at least a point.
Garry Hillâ€™s side now sit in 20th place in the table, ahead of North Ferriby United on goal difference and two points below fast-falling Maidstone United, with a game in hand on both clubs. Southport and Braintree Town are both three points clear of the Cards.
The performance against Aldershot Town on New Yearâ€™s Day was a huge improvement on that on Boxing Day and the side was unlucky not to gain a point, conceding the Shotsâ€™ winner in added time. A plus was the display of Max Kretzschmar, playing in the â€˜holeâ€™ behind Gozie Ugwu, but, although Max scored a fine goal, the lack of support for Gozie up front was still evident. Defensively, Woking looked much more solid with the formation that Garry selected on New Yearâ€™s Day, although the sidelining of Jake Caprice meant that the side didnâ€™t have the benefit of his marauding runs down the right flank.
Garry will no doubt be working hard to strengthen the squad in the transfer window, although, as he has made clear, departures will be needed if he is to be able to bring in reinforcements. Letâ€™s hope the Cards can take inspiration from their fine win at Wrexham almost a year ago to the day (see below).
This is the Red Dragonsâ€™ ninth season at this level and former captain Dean Keates, appointed manager in late October in place of Gary Mills, is hoping to succeed where his predecessors, Brian Little, Dean Saunders, Andy Morrell, Kevin Wilkin and Mills, all failed. But the most that he can hope for this season is to keep Wrexham up and to lay the foundations for the next campaign, for the Dragons sit in 16th place in the table with 32 points from 27 games.
Keates has had a difficult start, registering only two wins in 13 games. Their form over the last five league games is similar to Wokingâ€™s, with four defeats and one win, a Boxing Day 1-0 victory over Southport. Wrexhamâ€™s saving grace has been their respectable home record, with six wins, four draws and three defeats.
Mills, hoping to improve on last seasonâ€™s 8th place finish, made substantial changes to the Wrexham squad in the summer but these didnâ€™t pay off. One of the arrivals was ex-Card Shwan Jalal, who was injured in Wrexhamâ€™s last game, being replaced by Chris Dunn. Other well-known players include full-back Martin Riley, striker John Rooney (brother of Wayne) and defender Hamza Bencherif. Keates has just released striker Shaun Harrad from his short-term contract, while youth loan forward Gerry McDonagh has returned to Nottingham Forest. Wrexham have been boosted by striker Jordan Whiteâ€™s recent recovery from a long illness; White notched his first goal for the club on New Yearâ€™s Day but it wasnâ€™t enough to avoid a 3-2 defeat at Southport.
The Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground
Official website: www.wrexhamafc.co.uk
The Cards Trust will only run a coach to this game if there are sufficient â€˜takersâ€™. Ring the Club Shop (01483 772470) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to check the position or book your place.
Take the M54 from the M6 (Junction 10A Northbound). Follow the M54 to the end of the motorway and join the A5 towards Shrewsbury. Continue on the A5 past Shrewsbury and Oswestry and then join the A483 towards Wrexham. Stay on the A483 as you reach Wrexham (this is the Wrexham by-pass). Exit at the 'Mold' junction and then follow the signs for 'Town Centre'. The Racecourse will come quickly into view. There is parking at Glyndwr University, for a small fee, next to the ground or at Maesgwyn Hall opposite the University.
Wrexham General station is next to the ground. The 11.10 from Euston would get you to Wrexham at 13.46 via a change at Chester.
Coming back, the 17.04 would get you to Euston at 20.05 via changes at Crewe and Chester.
Away fans will be seated in the Yale Stand. Admission prices are:
Â£20 - Adults
Â£15 - Over 64 / Under 21
Â£8 - Over 80 / Under 18
Â£1 - Under 11s
Cheaper tickets can be purchased by phone in advance: see the Wrexham website for details.
LAST TIME OUT
Wrexham 1 Woking 3
Vanarama National League
9 January 2016
Ninety-plus minutes of rain on a pitch already saturated in parts could not deter Garry Hillâ€™s Woking from a fine victory in North Wales, as the Surrey visitors moved within a point of the play-off zone.
While an early own goal from home 'keeper Rhys Taylor following a mighty Keiran Murtagh free-kick was quickly cancelled out, decisive second-half finishes from Joe Quigley and Bruno Andrade saw the Cards stretch their league record to seven wins from nine and push them up to sixth in the table.
Wrexham: Rhys Taylor, Sean Newton, Manny Smith, Blaine Hudson (James Gray 58), Jamal Fyfield, Dominic Vose (Kayden Jackson 73), Connor Jennings (c), Robbie Evans (Adriano Moke 81), Wes York, Ross White, Simon Heslop
Subs not used: Lee Fowler, Mark Carrington
Goal: Vose 16
Woking: Jake Cole, Jake Caprice (Chris Arthur 29), Mark Ricketts (c), Brian Saah, Joey Jones, Keiran Murtagh, Giuseppe Sole (Godfrey Poku 64), John Goddard, Bruno Andrade (Andrew Mills 90), Joe Quigley, Cameron Norman
Subs not used: Nick Hamann, Gary Abisogun
Goals: Taylor (og) 13, Quigley 49, Andrade 83
Attendance: 4,030 (83 from Woking)
The Cards are at home to Leatherhead in the Surrey Senior Cup on Tuesday 10 January. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
In the league the Cards are away at Torquay United on Saturday 14 January in a re-arranged fixture and are then at home to table-topping Tranmere Rovers on Saturday 21 January.
Come on, you Cards!