Phil Parkinson takes charge of the 942nd match of his managerial career tomorrow, at home to the Club where he cut his teeth as a manager more than 20 years ago, Colchester United.
After more than 500 appearances as a player, Parkinson moved into management with the U’s at Layer Road in 2003, leading them to promotion to the EFL Championship for the first time.
Current Wrexham AFC goalkeeping coach, Aidan Davison, was among his players – and a player-coach – at the time.
And the Wrexham manager admits both have fond memories of their time with Colchester – but first and foremost are looking forward to getting back to match action after the frustration of last Saturday’s postponed fixture at Forest Green Rovers.
“We were down there and a lot of our supporters had set off which was disappointing form them, but the match was called off and so we concentrated on maximising the week ahead,” he said.
“If the game was on, we were ready – we’d prepared really well for it. But the match was off, so we then said, ‘ok, let’s have a bit of a breather over the weekend for the lads and the staff and then come back in this week ready to work on preparation for Colchester this weekend’.
“We’re just looking forward to getting back on the pitch after not having a match last week. We’ve got back-to-back home games and we’ll take them one at a time as we always do.”
He added: “Aidan Davison was with me at Colchester, as a goalkeeper and as player-coach, and made a huge contribution to the success we had down there.
“For both of us, it’s always special when we come up against Colchester. For me, personally, it’s where I started my managerial career and I learned so much in that period.
“We were the Club with the lowest budget in League One at the time, we had absolutely no money, but we had a great work ethic and created a culture that took us a long way. It was a very enjoyable period at the club, and I have a lot of fond memories.”
This season, the U’s arrive at the STōK Cae Ras sat 22nd in the Sky Bet League Two table – five points ahead of Forest Green Rovers below them, but having played two games more.
Manager Matty Etherington replaced Ben Garner in charge last month, taking the job permanently after earning ten points from four games as interim manager.
They have since lost five of their last six matches, but Parkinson insists it is business as usual for Wrexham.
He said: “They’ve got some young, talented players. Matty Etherington and the supporters would probably say it’s been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of their results.
“Like every team, they have players that if you give them space they have a lot of ability, but we’ve been looking very closely at what we need to do to keep our home run going.”
Saturday’s game will also give supporters a first glimpse of the temporary Kop stand in the flesh, and Parkinson is looking forward to seeing supporters back behind the goal in the near future.
He added: “There’s a lot of excitement, there’s a new stand up behind the goal which looks tremendous and hopefully we can get that functioning as soon as we can, because I think for our supporters, for the players and for everybody to have four sides will be amazing; I think it’s a huge boost for us.”