Jake Lawlor is relishing the start of the new season as Wrexham prepare to welcome Barrow to the Racecourse for the start of the 2019-20 Vanarama National League campaign.
Lawlor missed the end of the season after suffering a dislocated shoulder in the 3-1 home win against Braintree, but has returned to action over the summer.
And the centre-back insists confidence his high in the Wrexham dressing room ahead of the new season, with the players determined to utilise home advantage – and the backing of a big crowd – on the opening day.
“Barrow were good at the back-end of the season,” Lawlor conceded. They beat us 3-1 here, so obviously we owe them one.
“It’s always tough going to Barrow, but at home – on a big pitch – we are confident of beating them.
“I’ve said previously, just coming here and seeing the fans with the shirts is a great help to the lads. With several thousand backing us, it’s great for the lads.
“It’s hard to explain because you don’t want to get too caught up in it. The way I see it is, when there are that many people here supporting us you don’t want to disappoint them – it gives you a boost.
“Obviously, they are that loud and you just want to do it for them.”
Lawlor admitted a strong start to the season, with a run of fixtures also including long away trips to Boreham Wood and Dover, would be a big lift to the players too.
And he revealed the new attacking players brought in over the summer are in red-hot form on the training pitch.
“Of course you have to be on it from the start,” he said. “You obviously want to win every game. It’s a lift when you start well. Psychologically, a good start sets you up.
“There’s a lot of travelling. The Tuesday away and the Saturday away, they are long trips. But it’s three games in seven days and I think we’re all used to doing it. We’ve done it all season.
“The gaffer’s brought in new players and the idea is that they are better than what we had last year, otherwise he wouldn’t have been brought here. I think everybody in the changing room thinks we can do it [get promoted].
“The lads that have come in are different to what we had before. They bring something different and they all look quick and all look sharp in training. They are banging goals in for fun in training.”
Lawlor’s role might change slightly this season, meanwhile, with Bryan Hughes having trialled a number of different formations throughout the summer.
But the defender is happy to slot in wherever he is required in the defence.
“As long as you’re playing, you’re not too bothered to be honest,” he admitted. “It’s good to have a back-up plan, and it’s good that the teams we are playing won’t know what system we are playing either. We can easily go to a three at the back or four, so it’s all very positive.
“I defend a little wider in the three than in the four, and I’ve played predominantly in a back four throughout my career, so it’s just getting used to that slightly different position.
“It is different, you are doing different things, but it’s getting used to it and we’ve done a lot in training and, obviously, we’ve played it in the pre-season games.
“There are pros and cons to it. You can get your wing-back higher but then I might have to come a little bit wider [to defend].”
Wrexham’s first home game of the new season, against Barrow, takes place on Saturday August 3 and kicks off at 3pm. For more details, see our match-day guide.