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Evans aims to impress in return to home turf

PAUL EVANS may have grown up only 10 miles from Wrexham but tonight he aims to crush their hopes of staging a Worthington Cup giant-killing.

PAUL EVANS may have grown up only 10 miles from Wrexham but tonight he aims to crush their hopes of staging a Worthington Cup giant-killing.

The intriguing first-round encounter will double as a family re-union as Evans, who moved to Bradford City from Brentford in the summer, was born just down the road in Oswestry.

But, though Wrexham was his nearest childhood club, the 28-year-old Wales midfielder insists he has no affinity with the Dragons and would have no qualms about dumping them out of the competition at the first hurdle.

"They were the closest team to me, but I've got no real connection with Wrexham," said Evans, part of the Wales squad for the 2-0 win in Finland at the weekend.

"As a child I supported Liverpool and signed for Shrewsbury schoolboys. I was not picked up by Wrexham.

"The only reason I went to The Racecourse was to watch the Welsh games - I remember when Sparky [Mark Hughes] scored his bicycle kick against Spain there."

Evans said that during his previous returns to The Racecourse - with Shrewsbury and Brentford - he had received "a bit of banter" from the fans for being a local lad.

"I've always thought it was quite funny," he said. "I might get some stick again but it doesn't matter - I'll just laugh back.

"It was strange when we drew Wrexham in the Worthington Cup, but I'm looking forward to it. The family are coming down which gives me a chance to catch up.

"As for the game, we'll be favourites to win, but we're also aware that it is a potential banana skin. Wrexham will be quite confident at home."

Evans, who spent six years with the Shrews, is enjoying life at the cash-strapped Division One club after being shown the door by Brentford in the summer.

"We're doing quite well in mid-table and, personally, I'm very happy," said Evans.

"I believe this is the level I should be playing at. The First Division is where I need to be if my international career is going to flourish."

The twice-capped midfielder, who made his Wales debut in the goalless draw against the Czech Republic in March, is preparing for tonight's cup clash after a "fantastic" experience in Finland.

"That might sound strange given the fact I didn't even make the substitutes bench, but it was just great being part of the squad," said Evans.

"The lads who did play felt great after the game and there was a massive buzz in the camp.

"I'm really looking forward to the Italy game, which should be a sellout at the Millennium Stadium. I just hope to be involved in some way." First, Evans aims to help Bradford through to the Worthington Cup second round by disposing of Denis Smith's Third Division team.

Smith will make four changes to the side that lost at Torquay United on August 31. Striker Hector Sam will start at the expense of Lee Trundle, while Paul Edwards, Paul Barrett and Dan Bennett will also be drafted in.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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