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MATCH PREVIEW: Wrexham A.F.C (A)

Aldershot Town made it three games unbeaten in the National League on Tuesday after showing good determination to grind out a 0-0 draw against Maidenhead United. Mike Fondop was sent off with 20 minutes to play meaning the hosts did well to hang on in the latter stages.

The team now make the journey over to Wales and the Racecourse Ground to face Hollywood’s Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Wrexham A.F.C on Saturday afternoon.

In association with LV BET, Connor Laing previews the game:

Shots Squad:

Mo Bettamer will be back in contention for selection having returned from Libya international duty to make an appearance off the bench against Maidenhead. Fondop will be suspended for the next three matches after his dismissal midweek. In addition to Lewis Kinsella’s long term MCL injury, which will keep him side-lined until Spring 2021, The Shots are also currently without: Alex Finney (hamstring), skipper Jamie Sendles-White (calf), Craig Tanner (TBC) and Ross McCormack (Achilles)

Opposition:

Name: Wrexham A.F.C

Founded: 1864

Nickname: Red Dragons/The Robins

Manager: Dean Keates

Stadium: Racecourse Ground

2019/20 National League position: 20th (19th on PPG)

Current National League position: 13th

The Gaffer:

42-year-old Keates is a former player who played for Walsall, Hull City and Wrexham, amongst many others during his 20-year career. Following his retirement in 2016, his first two years in management were at Wrexham. He left the Red Dragons to join his hometown club Walsall in 2018, but was dismissed just over a year into the role with the club on the verge of relegation into League Two, which they ended up doing. He returned to the Racecourse Ground in October 2019, following the sacking of Bryan Hughes with the club lying in 20th. It was a difficult returning campaign for Keates, but one in which he managed to avoid relegation, with the points per game calculations placing them in 19th at the end of the cut-off campaign. He has rebuilt ready for the challenge again this season and made a solid start.

Departed:

A total of 14 players left permanently over the summer. Davis Keiller-Dunn and Jake Lawler left for League clubs Oldham Athletic and Harrogate Town respectively. Others like JJ Hooper, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, James Jennings and Luke Summerfield left for other National League sides.

Retained:

There were a couple of key players who did stay, despite the mass exodus. Luke Young, who has been a mainstay in the Wrexham midfield since 2018, remained at the club and has started the season in the same vein. Fellow midfielder Devonte Redmond also stayed, as did centre-back and captain Shaun Pearson.

Arrived:

With so many leaving the club, lots of new faces were expected, 12 all-in-all. Jordan Davies rejoined the club having spent three years at Brighton to strengthen the midfield alongside James Horsfield from Scunthorpe United. Reece Hall-Johnson, Fiacre Kelleher and Jamie Reckford were all added in the defensive department while Kwame Thomas and Jordan Ponticelli came in to bolster the attack. Adi Yusuf has also been added to the attacking roster on loan.

Form:

The Red Dragons’ form has been mixed at the start of the 20/21 campaign with three wins, three losses and a draw. After a two week period off, following a positive Covid-19 test within their squad, Wrexham returned on Tuesday to beat Hartlepool United in an impressive 1-0 victory, giving them confidence heading into the weekend’s affair.

Referee:

Saturday afternoon’s referee is Garreth Rhodes. He has taken charge of two games in the National League this season so far, while also refereeing in a few Premier League 2 games. He has given three penalties in his three Premier League 2 matches as well as a red card. Eight yellow cards have been issued by his hand in the two National League games.

Match Coverage:

The match will be streamed and available on Wrexham’s own streaming platform. Details of which can be found HERE. You can also listen to the match on the BBC Sport website with commentary from Rob Worrall.