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Wrexham Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 19/12/2003

CHRISTMAS is coming and the games are piling up which means that if Town are to seriously make any impression on the second division this season, they need to do it in the next few games.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Previews > Wrexham (a)

Wrexham at home and Oldham at home are the next two games for the Mariners, which some fans may think look easy games, but as we all know too well, it is the less fancied teams in the division that Town have come unstuck against. Tranmere, Port Vale and Swindon have all nicked three points whilst Peterborough and Stockport have both gained draws. For Town to realistically make a push into the top half of the table then the Mariners need four points in their next two home games - perhaps making them the biggest games of their season so far.

The Opposition

Dennis Smith (left) has a wealth of management experience after taking charge of York City, Sunderland, Bristol City, Oxford United and West Brom. He was appointed manager of the Welsh side in October 2001 but could not prevent them from being relegated into the third division. But last season, he immediately led the Red Dragons back into the second division where they are now. The improvement of players like Carlos Edwards is a testimony to his management skills - recognised by his fellow professionals last season when he was voted Division three manager of the year.

The Team
When taking a glance at the Wrexham squad, the obvious name to focus on is Chris Armstrong (left), the former Spurs striker who once cost £4.5 million. However, to concentrate on him would be disregarding his team mates who have put Wrexham in the top half of the table. Armstrong has started only three games this season. Instrumental for the Red Dragons has been ex Liverpool forward Lee Jones and Trinidad and Tobago striker Hector Sam who both have five goals to their name. One player who has proved an excellent summer acquisition has been former Norwich forward Chris Llewellyn who spent a time on loan with Bristol Rovers last season. With a decent left foot, Llewellyn is dangerous both in and around the box, whilst his set pieces should be looked out for. Winger Carlos Edwards is reportedly a target of a few first division sides. Like Hector Sam, he plays for Trinidad and Tobago, where his ability to play on either wing is a major asset to Wrexham’s small squad. The tricky winger agreed a new contract in the summer to extend his three year stay at the Racecourse.

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LPeterborough (cup)(a)2-3
Currently 15th in Division 2
Currently 11th in Division 2

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Team News



  • The Mariners will be forced into at least one change with the suspension of Jason Crowe who is banned after receiving five yellow cards. This is in addition to the three game ban he will get after his sending off last week.

  • This could mean a straight swap for Des Hamilton or a return for Marcel Cas with Stuart Campbell in the middle.

  • Elsewhere, Groves will probably keep the same side with Alan Pouton and Phil Jevons retaining their places.
  • The Red Dragons have their captain and son of Manchester Utd manager, Darren Ferguson suspended for the pre Christmas clash at Blundell Park. Jim Whitely will take the armband and told the Wrexham Leader that he is hopeful of a victory, even without one of their most inspirational players. "It’s going to be tough up there, but when you look at our away record this season it’s as good - and better - than anything in the division."

  • Hector Sam will be pushing for a place in the starting eleven. After being left out recently, Sam came on and scored last weekend against Peterborough.

  • Elsewhere, Denis Smith will keep faith with his side from last weekend, with Paul Barrett and Stephen Thomas continuing on both wings, with Whitley in the centre.
  • Probable Starting XI's


    Aidan Davison
    John McDermott
    Darren Barnard
    Tony Crane
    Mike Edwards
    Stuart Campbell
    Phil Jevons
    Alan Pouton
    Des Hamilton
    Mike Boulding
    Iffy Onoura
    Andy Dibble
    Brian Carey
    Dennis Lawrence
    Shaun Pejic
    Paul Edwards
    Carlos Edwards
    Paul Barrett
    Steve Thomas
    Jim Whitley
    Lee Jones
    Chris Llewellyn



    Marcel Cas
    Paul Groves
    Darren Mansaram
    Iain Anderson
    Greg Young
    Hector Sam
    Mark Jones
    Matthew Crowell
    Jim McNutly
    Paul Whitfield


    Former Town Captain Shaun Cunnington (left) started his career at Wrexham, where he played over 200 games for the Welsh club before a £55,000 fee was paid for him by manager Bobby Roberts in February 1988. The central midfielder who was born in Bourne, left the Mariners in 1992 for £650,000 to Sunderland, going on to be reunited with Alan Buckley at WBA and then onto Notts County and Kidderminster, before his retirement from the professional game in 2001.

    Going far back into the past - over half a century ago - Thomas Gardener played for both Town and Wrexham. He turned out just 13 times for the Mariners before the war in 1931-32 and finished his career with Wrexham where he played as an outside right. Was renowned for his long throws - and actually won a long throw championship in 1932, with a throw of 32 yards and 2 inches. He received two England caps during a career which lasted 21 years. He died in 1970.

    Last Time Out

    Like many sides in this division, the last time The Mariners played Wrexham was in the memorable 1997/98 season at the Racecourse Ground on a March Tuesday night. Like the first meeting that season at Blundell Park, the game ended in a dull 0-0 draw.

    Town Team: Davison ,McDermott ,Gallimore ,Handyside ,Lever ,Burnett ,Donovan ,David Smith ,Nogan ,Lester ( Livingstone ,78 ) ,Groves
    Subs: (not used) Jobling, Dobbin Goals: Black (75), Burnett (112)

    Wrexham Team: Marriott ,McGregor ,Hardy ,Brammer ,Humes (Ridler ,85 ) ,Carey ,Connolly ,Mark Wilson (Gareth Owen ,78 ) ,Spink ,Roberts ,Ward
    Subs: (not used) Kelly
    Goals: Bailey (31)

    Attendance: 5,421

    Wrexham Head-to-Head (43rd on The Opposition Ladder).


    Fishy prediction: A 2-1 win for Town Reader's POMs


    Click on the link for directions to Blundell Park (left).

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