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We must show a cutting edge to stay up

WREXHAM defender Kevin Sharp last night declared he was more interested in the club's future than his own - although he is keen to extend his stay at the Racecourse beyond the end of the season.

WREXHAM defender Kevin Sharp last night declared he was more interested in the club's future than his own - although he is keen to extend his stay at the Racecourse beyond the end of the season.

The 28-year-old utility player, who keeps his place at left-back against Brentford this afternoon in the continued absence through injury of Northern Ireland under-21 international Shaun Holmes, claimed nothing was as important as preserving Wrexham's second division status.

"Making ourselves safe from relegation is first and foremost in my mind at the moment," he said. "We've definitely got to stay in this division and, like everyone else here, I firmly believe we are good enough to avoid the drop.

"It would be an injustice if Wrexham were to go down and I think the games we have left will give us the chance to prove it. There is no shortage of confidence here but it's all about producing performances on the day and getting that little bit of luck that every team needs."

Looking at the club's run-in, Sharp pointed out that, in most cases, Wrexham's forthcoming opponents are either going for a top-six finish or struggling to beat the drop.

"There aren't too many games against mid-table sides but they are all matches we can take points from," he added. "If we play like we know we can and our key players manage to steer clear of injury, I'm sure that will prove to be the case."

Currently playing at the Racecourse on non-contract terms, Sharp said he would be happy to stay if a new deal was on offer in the summer.

"I'm looking for something more permanent, obviously, but there is no question that I would stay if the chance arises," he said.

"It's a great little club, the supporters are good and there are a great set of lads here, which is why it's so important we stay up. If we do, hopefully the manager will try to bring in his own players, rebuild for next season and have a go at getting to the top of the table.

"Even when I was at Wigan and played against Wrexham, I always felt they had a number of good players and now that I'm training with them every day, I know that's the case."

Wrexham manager Denis Smith, who reckoned Sharp was one of his star performers in a 3-1 midweek win at Port Vale, has recalled fit-again Shaun Pejic to partner Dennis Lawrence with Dan Bennett, an impressive debutant at Vale Park, returning to the bench.

And midfielder Paul Barrett is on standby to step in for Steve Thomas, who will have a fitness test this morning after picking up a knock in training on Thursday.

Smith said: "I think Shaun has been playing extremely well and, with Dennis they have the look of a very good pair. It's tough on Dan because I thought he was excellent on Tuesday and perhaps it would have been the easy option to leave things as they were.

He is disappointed because he felt he did well enough to keep his place but I'm the manager and I get paid to make these decisions."

The Dragons' boss admitted that initially he had harboured doubts about the 19-year-old Pejic's ability to make the grade.

"To be honest, in the early reserve team games I watched, I was not over-impressed with Shaun," he said. "He had some half-decent games but when I had to put him in the first team he was impressive and he's growing into the job.

And, whatever my initial thoughts, it's in the first team that these things matter. He's grabbed his chance with both hands and, from my point of view, that's super."

Pejic faces another stern test against Steve Coppell's Brentford side, who are well-placed to clinch a play-off spot and Smith is expecting a battle.

"They are strong, well-balanced and they have pace in the right areas," he said.

 "They are physical and they work very hard which is why they've been near the top all season and it's hard to find too many weaknesses. But, although they are a good team in this division, they are not invincible and on our day we are capable of beating any second division team."

For his part, Coppell has warned his players to avoid any complacency.

"I saw a lot of Wrexham earlier in the season when they weren't doing well," he said. "But I notice they won again on Tuesday so they are having a bit of a go. But I know Denis Smith and if they say a team reflects the personality of the manager, then they will be gritty and determined and they will adopt a never-say-die attitude.

"They need points, we need points so there is a lot to play for."

WREXHAM: Walsh; Whitley, Pejic, Lawrence, Sharp; Phillips, Ferguson, Thomas (or Barrett); Trundle, Faulconbridge. Subs: Rogers, Bennett, Edwards, Sam, Blackwood.


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