The start of the highly anticipated 2022/23 Vanarama National League season is finally upon us, as Wrexham AFC prepare to kick things off against Eastleigh at the Racecourse Ground.
While there’s been much positive change – both on and off the pitch - over the summer period, that familiar and unmistakable mixture of tension and expectation remains. Of course, history only tells a story, and the hope among players and fans alike will be that in this, our 15th season in non-league football, Wrexham can rise to promotion at long last.
While many who have entered the famous old stadium during the post-season period have donned a hi-vis vest - with a new scoreboard, accessible platform and seating among the notable works undertaken - six new players have also come through the door, bringing further experience and quality into the ranks.
Jordan Tunnicliffe, Mark Howard, Elliot Lee, Anthony Forde, Sam Dalby and Jacob Mendy will all harbour hopes of becoming instant heroes in North Wales. Each has expressed their excitement at the thought of playing in front of the Wrexham faithful and, with more than 7,100 season tickets sold for the 2022/23 campaign, it’s easy to see why. All six will no doubt contribute to a season-long selection headache for Phil Parkinson, in his second full season at the helm.
Saturday’s opponents contributed a headache of their own on their last visit here in April, twice taking the lead before Paul Mullin’s double – which included a 98th-minute penalty – secured three important points. The Spitfires arrive for this weekend’s game having made a number of signings of their own, on the back of a 19th-placed finish last season.
With potential competitive debuts on the cards for players on both sides on Saturday, fans will recall James Jones and Ben Tozer’s first Wrexham appearances when we travelled to the south coast last term. The duo have since become known for their endless energy and feared throw-in respectively, which could prove key assets again as the season unfolds.
Jones and Tozer will be among the familiar faces returning to the Racecourse this weekend, as well as the likes of Mullin, who scooped last season’s Golden Boot, and strike partner Ollie Palmer, who will wear the number 9 shirt moving forwards.
Goalkeeper Christian Dibble and defender Reece Hall-Johnson remains sidelined, while others got important minutes under their belts in Tuesday’s final pre-season test against Caernarfon Town.
The season starts here, and what a season it promises to be.
Supporters looking to follow the action this weekend can listen to live audio commentary via WrexhamPlayer, or follow match updates via the Club’s official Twitter feed.