After all the off-field excitement, it's time to get down to business. Phil Parkinson's Wrexham side will finally get to play their first competitive game, and they certainly aren't going to be eased gently into action.
We were supposed to be preparing for a home game against Yeovil, but sadly circumstances mean that fixture can't be fulfilled this weekend. Instead. we acted decisively to arrange a replacement game, and will start our campaign at the home of a side who will be hugely disappointed if they don't make a sustained promotion push this season.
Solihull Moors finished last season in spectacular manner. They lost at The Racecourse in early May and never looked back, winning 6 of their final 7 games of the campaign, and drawing the other one.
Admittedly, they had a fairly straightforward run-in: they played each of the bottom 6, in a season where there was no relegation for them to battle against. However, you can do no more than beat the opponents in front of you, and any football fan knows that just because a run of fixtures looks easy on paper doesn't mean it'll be straightforward in reality.
The Moors have followed up that strong conclusion to the season by having a good Summer. Neal Ardley, whose work at Notts County drew widespread praise, was appointed as manager and he has managed to retain the core of last season's side while adding a sprinkling of quality new signings.
No playerwho made more than 12 appearances last season has left The Moors, and they've added considerable quality to an attacking unit which already looked good, with Danny Newton and Andy Dallas arriving at Damson Park. In the centre of midfield Lois Maynard is a terrific acquisition on a season-long loan from Stockport, while Matt Preston will add depth to the centre of defence.
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Parkinson freely admits that he has not finished assembling his squad yet, and injuries led to him selecting an unfamiliar back three last Saturday against Curzon Ashton.
With all four senior strikers among the goals in pre-season, he'll be hoping they'll give a capacity crowd in the away end plenty to cheer about.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the pitch Luke Young will enjoy his first match after being appointed club captain.
Both sides have looked good in pre-season. Wrexham enjoyed a 3-1 win over Curzon Ashton last Saturday, while The Moors drew 2-2 with fellow promotion hopefuls Notts County.
REFEREE: Steven Copeland
Yellow: Wrexham 3 Opponents 0
Red: Wrexham 0 Opponents 0
Last Wrexham game Copeland officiated:
24/11/2020 Wrexham 4 Sutton Utd 0
Jordan Davies made his Wrexham debut in the 1-0 defeat at Solihull Moors last season.
Jamie Reckord's record for Solihull Moors v Wrexham: Starts:5 Sub:0 Injured:0 Goals:1 Assists:0 W:2 D:1 L:2
Jamie Reckord's record for Wrexham v Solihull Moors: Starts:2 Sub:0 Injured:1 Goals:0 Assists:0 W:0 D:0 L:2
HEAD TO HEAD
Solihull Moors have been consistently at the top end of the table since their promotion to this level in 2016, and have an impressive home record against us.
We’ve lost our last 4 games at Damson Park, and have only won there once, on our first visit there. That victory, back in February 2016, was earned through an Anthony Berry penalty in the 7th minute of the game.
We then went 326 minutes without scoring at Solihull. A goalless draw in February 2018 was followed up by our first loss there at the start of the following season.
In truth, it was an ugly match, memorable for all the wrong reasons, as it was the day when Manny Smith sustained the injury which cruelly ended his career.
The match looked likely to end in the goalless stalemate it deserved to be, but with 8 minutes left Smith’s replacement, Doug Tharme, lost his man at a set piece and the Moors pinched the win while Sam Ricketts suffered his first loss as manager.
The following season caretaker manager Brian Flynn saw his side put up a decent fight but lose 3-1. After falling 2-0 behind, with Jamie Reckord doubling the home team’s lead in spectacular style, Wrexham rallied well and gave themselves a chance when, with just under half an hour left, a superb move ended in Bobby Grant scoring. However, The Moors struck back 7 minute later when Jamey Osborne scored direct from a corner to halt our progress.
Last season we travelled to Solihull twice in the opening three weeks of the campaign, and neither went well. Admittedly, we had slightly the better of things in the league encounter, but struggled to create chances and conceded from a corner at the start of the second half.
We returned to play an FA Cup tie 18 days later, but were never really in contention as they blew us away 4-0.
Considering our poor record at Damson Park, it's remarkable to consider that we've got a 100% home record agaist The Moors, and are there well ahead in the overall head-to-head, boasting 7 wins to Solihull's 4.
LAST MATCH BETWEEN WREXHAM AND SOLIHULL MOORS
Wrexham 2 (Young pen 27, pen 32) Solihull Moors 1 (Rooney pen 80)
Wrexham: R Lainton, F Kelleher, S Pearson, T Vassell, J Davies, C Green, R Hall-Johnson, L Young, J Harris (P Rutherford, 89), D Angus (J Ponticelli, 68), G Omotayo. Subs not used: D Jarvis, C Dibble, T French
Solihull Moors: R Boot, J Cranston, N Cameron, J Thompson, C Coxe (J Sbarra, 79), S Gleeson (C Maycock, 54), A Addai, Jimmy Ball (K Hudlin, 54), K Storer, J Donawa, A Rooney. Subs not used: M Hancox, J Piggott
Wrexham - Pearson
Solihull Moors - Cameron, Hudlin
Red cards: None
Referee: Jacob Miles
Paul Mullin’s 300th career appearance.
Mullin needs 2 more goals to reach 75 career league goals.
Christian Dibble’s 125th career appearance.
Jake Hyde needs 2 more goals to reach 100 career league goals.