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WREXHAM'S new management team are asking Dragons fans to give them a fair crack of the whip.

WREXHAM'S new management team are asking Dragons fans to give them a fair crack of the whip.

With the Dragons currently propping up the Second Division new boss Denis Smith and acting assistant Kevin Russell are hoping the fans will respond to the appointment.

"We can't survive on crowds of 3,000," said Smith.

"So I'm asking the fans to give us an opportunity. Come and we'll show you what we're about.

"A good crowd will mean more money will be generated and then we can spend some of it improving the team. Give us a chance, that's all we're asking."

But Smith also knows that it will take some convincing for a lot of stay-away fans to visit the Racecourse and the only way to do it will be changes on the pitch.

"I know what is expected of me and I know what I have to do," he said.

"I like playing 4-4-2, with two wingers who push in and work hard.

"But we're not in a position for luxuries. If some players aren't happy about the position, they'll have to come to me and sort it out."

Defensive problems have beset Wrexham all season, and former Stoke centre-half Smith is quick to point out that he can't wave a magic wand.

"With Joey Jones and I both having been defenders, we hopefully can get the defence sorted," he said.

"But to be honest I like the attacking game. Quite a few people have commented on the fact that central defenders tend to manage attack-minded teams, while former centre-forwards tend to have ultra-tight sides."

And Smith has gone about tightening the defence with the signing of centre-half Keith Hill, 32, on a three-month loan deal from Cheltenham.

"He's a steady character who I've seen a lot of during his career," said Smith.

"He joined Cheltenham from Rochdale in the summer but was banned for the first few matches and couldn't break into the team. At his age he needs to play regularly."

Smith also hoped to get another loan player in before Saturday but admitted yesterday that time is running ut.

"But in the end we have to improve. Adrian Moody had a good game in the reserves last match and he's one of the players I'm finding out about," he said.

Smith is learning out about his squad in conjunction with senior professionals like injured captain Brian Carey and veteran midfielder Kevin Russell.

"It's obviously a new experience for me with the new gaffer coming in," said Russell.

"But he's been doing this sort of thing for a long time and hopefully we can all learn from him.

"It's a new challenge for all of us but I like getting on the training ground and helping the lads."

And there is a strong possibility that Russell may become assistant player manager on a full time basis.

"I've offered the job to Joey," said Smith.

"But he may prefer to be working with the reserves and be a coach rather than an assistant.

"That's okay. In that case Kev will hopefully be stepping into Kevin Reeves' shoes and be my assistant. But he will also have to play as we're in a position where we need as many players as possible so unfortunately he's going to have to put his boots on."

But Russell, who has already tasted coaching through his involvement with the Youth Academy, has no problems combining both roles.

"Obviously it's the wish for every player to carry on as long as possible," he said. "But there will come a point where it's going to be difficult to combine both roles and then I'll have to take a step back."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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