MANAGER PREVIEW | Graham Barrow Wants Players To Show Belief Ahead Of Newport Replay

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Mon 10 Dec 2018

Interim manager Graham Barrow has urged the Wrexham players to back themselves as they prepare for the FA Cup second-round replay in Newport.

After a goalless draw at the Racecourse at the start of the month, both sides now travel to Rodney Parade for the replay – with a televised home tie against former Premier League champions Leicester City up for grabs for the winner.

And, though Barrow is expecting an improved Newport side from the one which failed to beat the Wrexham defence in the original tie, he believes the Dragons have a renewed confidence about them.

“The players should be proud – it’s not a fluke where we are now in the season, just about halfway through,” Barrow asserted.

“I get on to them about being more arrogant and showing more belief – we show it at times, but perhaps we could do so for longer periods.

“I think the fact we gave a good account of ourselves against Newport, we know what they’ve got and what they can give – and while they have more to give in terms of power, in terms of technical ability we’re a match for them.

“We expect a response from Newport but I get the feeling the lads are looking forward to the game.

“I wouldn’t say it’s no fear but we’ve had a good look at them – we feel Newport have got another notch or two but also feel, if we’re at our best, we can be somewhere near to getting something.”

The lure of a home third-round tie against Claude Puel’s side, who sit ninth in the Premier League and reached last season’s FA Cup quarter-finals, has also added another dimension to the game.

Barrow admitted the draw has given extra incentive in the build-up to the game – but is keen to keep the pressure off the Wrexham players.

Carra takes on his man

“The draw’s made it a better game for me,” he said. “There were a lot of games – no disrespect to the sides – that once you get to the third round you would not have wanted.

“If you can get through, then to get a Premier League team would be fantastic for the club.

“The league games are our bread and butter and, while I wouldn’t say it’s a free hit, it’s near enough that. We’ve done ourselves proud in the cup this year so let’s go and push it and give it one more go.

“It’s about not putting too much tension and pressure on the game and I feel that’s when we express ourselves better.”

With Shaun Pearson and Brad Walker missing the home win against Eastleigh due to suspension, Barrow also now has a selection headache.

Manny Smith returned from injury at centre-back to partner Jake Lawlor in that game, while Mark Carrington slotted into defensive midfield.

Kevin Roberts picked up an ankle injury in the win, which means some rotation will be necessary again, but Barrow is looking forward to welcoming Pearson back – even if it does pose some selection dilemmas.

“It will be great to have the captain back. To win the game without him was key – he is such a big character in the dressing room and around the club.

“In the coming weeks, whatever happens and whichever manager comes in, he will have selection headaches, but the right sort of headaches.

Grant on the ball

Barrow also hailed the impact Bobby Grant has had since arriving on a short-term loan deal from Fleetwood Town.

Grant scored his first Wrexham goal to seal the win against Eastleigh and linked up well with fellow League One loanee Stuart Beavon.

And Barrow added: “They did link up well and Bobby, the more time he has been on the pitch for us, has got better and better.

“His fitness has been good and we saw the match sharpness come against Eastleigh.

“He’s a good character, a typical scouser, he chirps in all the time but I like that – he’s confident and I think he’s helped a few of the players.”

The match at Rodney Parade takes place on Tuesday and kicks off at 7.45pm. It is all-ticket for Wrexham fans, and further details can be found here.

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