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Jones's injury worries mount

INJURY problems are piling up for Wrexham caretaker-manager Joey Jones after two key players had to come off during Tuesday night's 3-1 home defeat by Port Vale.

INJURY problems are piling up for Wrexham caretaker-manager Joey Jones after two key players had to come off during Tuesday night's 3-1 home defeat by Port Vale.

Central defender Steve Roberts has an arm injury and experienced midfielder Wayne Phillips strained an ankle tendon, making both of them doubtful for the visit on Saturday of Peterborough United.

Already ruled out are club captain Brian Carey, who underwent a hernia operation yesterday, and young fullback Dave Warren, who is still recovering from knee surgery on a damaged cartilage.

Worrying though the injury roll-call is, the priority for Jones is to lift morale in the dressing room following a fourth successive defeat, the club's worst run for several seasons.

"There's more than one or two players who are a little bit short on confidence but we have to be men about it," he said. "You always say the next game is the most important and, whichever team we put out on Saturday, we have got to try and get three points.

"I've often said confidence is not something you can go and buy in Boots, you have to work your way through it and maybe some of the players aren't looking forward to Saturday but they have just got to stick at it and hope that it turns because they are not playing to their potential at the moment.

"I've told the players that they have got to be hard to beat, they have to be ruthless and they have to have an aggressive streak. They need a determination not to be beaten because if you are not winning games, the first thing you have to do is make sure you are not beaten. Hopefully you start with draws and go on from there."

Jones, who is working with senior professionals, Carey, Kevin Russell and Darren Ferguson, admitted his decision to play two wingers in a 4-4-2 system on Tuesday had not paid off.

"It's disappointing to lose any game and we tried to play a different system but the lads did not do what we wanted them to do," he added. "Again we gave away some sloppy goals which we could have prevented, but we've been saying the same thing since the start of the season.

"Whether we continue to play with two wingers or not will depend on the chat I have with Brian, Kevin and Darren. We might revert to something else but we've got to try and find a formula that gets us points.

"We can't play the game for the lads, all we can do is offer advice and help as much as we can. Whether they take it is up to them. I didn't think we got our wingers into the game enough in terms of getting behind their defence.

"And without being over-critical, I don't think our front two held the ball up well enough. They are good players but they must realise it's not always all about scoring goals. They have to hold the ball up and bring other people into play."

Jones, who was given a standing ovation by Wrexham fans before Tuesday's match, said it had come as a complete surprise. "I was a bit embarrassed to be honest and I must thank the fans for that," he said.

"I'm only trying to do a job and I'm just sorry we couldn't give them a win. I'm a Wrexham fan myself and no-one is more disappointed than me."

Jones was joined on the bench by Kevin Russell, but fans would be wrong to assume that the veteran midfield player has hung up his boots. "Although Kevin has still got a lot to offer on the field, he wanted to see it from the other side and what he said was valuable," added Jones.

"It's difficult to see how we can get out of this situation but I'm just taking each game as it comes. We have to stick together and get through this."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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