FAN-POWER has enabled Wrexham manager Denis Smith to strengthen his squad by signing utility player Dan Bennett on a non-contract basis until the end of the season.
The 24-year-old, who can play in defence or midfield, joins the club's battle against relegation thanks to members of the Wrexham Independent Supporters (WINS) group who are contributing regular monthly sums of money to ease the current financial problems at the Racecourse.
Bennett, who played professional football in Singapore where he has lived since he was a youngster, made an assured and competent debut for the Dragons' reserves last week as a central defender and will be given a midfield role at the Racecourse tonight against Preston North End's second string (7pm).
Smith said he was delighted that the WINS group money would allow him to take an extended look at Bennett, whose versatility could prove a useful asset.
"I genuinely think he has a chance of making the grade," he added. "He's certainly talented and on the practice pitch he makes the game look easy but we don't want to throw too much expectation on his shoulders.
"He's coming into a new environment and it's now up to him to show he can cope with the way the game is played over here."
Bennett came to Wrexham on the recommendation of Swindon Town assistant boss Malcolm Crosby following a trial at the County Ground where the West Country club's own financial woes prevented a deal being struck.
And the player, who was in a Singapore select side that played both Manchester United and Liverpool during their close-season Far East tours, admitted to a sense of relief that Wrexham had stepped in.
"After my experiences at other places I didn't want to count on anything until it was all agreed," he said.
"This was my last chance over here because the Singapore League season kicks off in a few weeks and I had the opportunity to return to one of the top clubs over there. I have enjoyed myself in Singapore but I was looking to see if I could make it in the Football League. It has been a frustrating time but I understand the financial problems that a number of clubs in the English League are facing.
"I'm just happy we've been able to sort something out at Wrexham which will enable me to carry on playing here. I have enjoyed my brief spell with the club and the manager has shown his confidence in me, which is very encouraging. Now I hope I can repay him in the months ahead."
The WINS group is meeting the cost of Bennett's salary and expenses through its 'Beer a Week' initiative, which encourages Dragons' fans to contribute at least £2 every week to the fund and chairman Rob Owen said supporters wished Bennett every success during his time at the Racecourse.
"This is just the start but it demonstrates what can be achieved through the commitment and generosity of supporters," he added. "This is a direct result of the success of the 'Beer a Week' fund which has been well-publicised over recent weeks and continues to grow.
"We are looking forward to working more closely with the club in the future."
Club captain Brian Carey returns from a three-match suspension to figure in tonight's Avon Insurance League game and several other senior players will also be involved.