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Smith's miracle spell

ALL of a sudden, writes columnist Peter Davies, the world is a beautiful place: three wins a week, nine goals, and a new manager who is gaining plaudits by the day.

ALL of a sudden, the world is a beautiful place: three wins a week, nine goals, and a new manager who is gaining plaudits by the day.
Denis Smith has already shown himself to be passionate, committed and upbeat in his public pronouncements. And instead of demanding money to spend, he seems to be relishing the challenge of making the best of the resources he's inherited. This is a refreshing quality.

The handsome victories over Wigan were a massive boost. The Reds pulverised their opponents into the ground, and there could easily have been more goals. I'm struggling to recall the last time Wrexham scored five against a league club at home.

Admittedly, Wigan looked hopeless and did a convincing impression of a team destined for the drop. Furthermore, it was "only" the LDV Vans Trophy. But even so, the manner of the triumph was striking.

Hit-man Trundle looked extraordinary rather than ordinary - a nice change from recent games - and some of his touches were exquisite. Usually when you say a footballer should go on display at a circus it is a cutting criticism; with the sun-tanned Scouser, it is a compliment of the highest order. His repertoire of magic ball skills expands with every match.

All four Wrexham strikers featured on Tuesday night. Trundle and Faulconbridge are in possession, of course, but the performances of Morrell and Sam will have made manager Smith sit up and take note.

But it is in defence where the new boss has worked the most astonishing miracle. For the life of me, I still cannot understand how Flynn thought he could enter a new season with two rookie keepers and four defenders unproven at second division level  - Warren, Holmes, Lawrence and Roberts.

Three seasoned back players have been brought in since mid-September, and this fact would seem to tell its own story. Keith Hill and Jim Whitley - Smith's captures - have done an excellent job. The new boss should be commended on his rapid diagnosis of the problem and his ability to remedy it.

Hill is a particularly curious case: out of favour at third division Cheltenham, but now looking assured and commanding at a higher grade. He has also quickly established himself as a crowd favourite. At the LDV game the Kop burst into song: 'THERE'S ONLY ONE KEITH HILL!' and 'SIGN HIM ON!' When was the last time an on-loan defender received such adulation in only his second match?

The emergence of the Hill-Roberts axis at the back is enormously welcome, but it does raise questions about the short- and long-term future of 'Tall Man' Lawrence. The Trinidadian is a wonderful character, but personally, I feel a lot less anxious with him sitting in the stands rather than leading the back line.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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