Phil Parkinson was pleased to see his Wrexham AFC side make a winning start to pre-season with an entertaining 5-2 victory at Nantwich Town on Saturday afternoon, and reserved praise for his young players.
The Reds fielded a different XI in either half at the Swansway Stadium, giving the squad vital minutes in preparation for the new campaign, as goals from Aaron Hayden, Trialist A, Kai Evans, Liam McAlinden and Paul Mullin earned the win in front of just under 1,500 fans.
We caught up with the boss after the game - here's what he had to say...
ON VICTORY OVER NANTWICH
“I was pleased with the workout. I always like coming to Nantwich because the pitch is great and it’s a lovely set-up, so I thought it was a decent first friendly for us. It was about as intense as you’d expect in this heat, and the players are in good spirits.
“It was a good fixture for our supporters too, and it was good to see them here. They’re assessing the squad, just like I am, and forming their own opinions. We know they care a lot about how we’re formulating the squad going into the new season.”
ON YOUNG PLAYERS
“Today was just about fitness really and getting minutes under the belt. We thought about playing the senior players in the first half and younger ones in the second half but wanted to integrate the youngsters, in order to give them a chance to shine. I thought they did that; Dan Davies in particular in the first half and Kai Evans in the second.
“Kai caught the eye with a couple of great shots and, of course, a goal. It’s important to give them a chance; we had around 1,500 fans here and they wanted to showcase themselves, so we mixed the teams up and I was pleased with how it worked.”
ON NEW RECRUITS
“Obviously we had a few players that weren’t with us today as well, but that [strength in depth] has got to be the aim. The squad isn’t where we want it to be yet; we’ve got work to do on that. I spoke to Shaun Harvey before the game and will do so again, about our plan of attack for early next week in terms of new recruits.
“I’m looking forward to spending a week in Spain with the players now. I know there’s been a disappointment with one of the games getting called off, but that was out of our hands. We have a fantastic training camp ahead and I hope it will benefit us.”
"Reece Hall-Johnson is unfortunately going to need surgery, and will miss the start of the season.
"Jordan Tunnicliffe missed today as he's suffering a little tightness. It's just something that needs managing, particularly as he's at a different stage of pre-season because of moving clubs this summer.
"Elliot Lee, meanwhile, is not yet ready. He's further behind the others having only just signed so we'll be looking to build up his fitness."