HUGHES | "When you’re sitting top of the league, you should play with confidence"

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Wed 06 Mar 2019

Bryan Hughes called on his Wrexham players to use the confidence and positivity of being league leaders to their advantage in Saturday’s clash with Leyton Orient.

After taking 16 points from the last 18 on offer, Wrexham head to Orient for the televised top-of-the-table clash with a two-point advantage, albeit having played a game more.

But he was also keen to down-play the significance of Saturday’s clash, with ten games still left to play this season.

“You’re going to get excited, aren’t you?” he said. “When you look at the league table and we’re sitting proudly top of it, there’s going to be an air of excitement around the place.

“That’s a good thing and you’ve got to use that now as momentum to take forward into the next few games.

“We’re playing well, we’re playing with loads of confidence and we’re starting to get people into the right areas where we can score goals.

“I don’t think it’s a title decider [on Saturday] because there are other teams there. It’s not just us and Orient.

“I wouldn’t class it as a title decider, I think it’s just the next game up in our calendar and we will go there full of confidence. Hopefully we’ll perform like we have done and we’ll see what the result is.

“I don’t think, win, lose or draw, it’s going to be decided after Saturday’s games. It’s going to be a big weekend in the National League but then come Tuesday it could all change again.”

Hughes also urged his players to continue to play with the freedom he has tried to instigate in recent weeks, regardless of the fact the match will be televised.

The Wrexham manager pointed to the Dragons’ second-half performance in the win against Boreham Wood, which put them top, as an example of what he is expecting.

And he hopes the team’s form in the second-half of matches so far in his managerial reign could also prove profitable in Saturday’s game.

“It’s nice to be on TV. All the good things that both teams are doing this year, it’s nice to be noticed,” he said.

“I don’t feel any pressure going into it with regards to the TV cameras being there and I need to get that into our players. I want us to be relaxed, I want us to be focused.

“In the first-half against Boreham Wood, we looked like a team that had that pressure on us but second-half we didn’t. It was some fine-tuning, and giving them that freedom – we’re where we are for a reason.

“When you’re sitting top of the league, you should play with confidence and not feel pressure.

“They’ve got a good strikeforce, they’ve scored plenty of goals and are an attacking threat, but so are we now.

“We’ve scored goals since I’ve been here, albeit all in the second-half, but that might be crucial on Saturday after those long journeys Orient have had.”

Wrexham could welcome Bobby Grant back on Saturday, after Hughes confirmed he had been back in full training this week, but Luke Summerfield and Mark Carrington are definitely out.

Brad Walker and Shaun Pearson go into the game having picked up nine yellow cards each this season, meanwhile – with Saturday the final game before the cut-off for suspensions.

On the latter too, however, Hughes stressed the importance of not letting a potential two-game ban affect either player’s performance.

“If they get booked and have to take one for the team then it’s one of those things,” he added. “I don’t want it to play on their minds, I want them to play their own games.

“If they get a booking, they get a booking and we’ll be without them for two games; we’ve got a strong enough squad to deal with that.”

Wrexham’s clash with Leyton Orient at the Matchroom Stadium kicks off at 12:45pm, and supporters are urged to try and buy tickets before they travel. For more information, see our full guide.

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