WREXHAM manager Denis Smith yesterday reflected on 12 months of progress, both on and off the field, and believes the Dragons can do even better in 2004.
The Racecourse boss paid tribute to his players and said it was appropriate that they had reserved one of their finest displays for the final home match of the year against Blackpool on Sunday.
The 4-2 victory was watched by the club's biggest gate of the season to date but, at just over 6,000, the attendance put Wrexham's status into perspective, Smith argues.
"It was pleasing to put in that sort of performance in front of a good-sized crowd, but we are not a big club in terms of the Second Division," he said.
"But over the 12 months we have won promotion. We also won the FAW Premier Cup and we find ourselves sixth in the Second Division with a game in hand over most of the teams above us.
"I think most people with Wrexham's interests at heart would have settled for that this time last year - I know I certainly would."
But the Dragons boss insisted there was still room for improvement.
"We'd all like to have 50 points at this stage of the season but, generally speaking, we've had a reasonable first half," he added.
"We could have done better, though. The FA Cup defeat at Yeovil will stick in my throat for a long time but because of one mishap, we should not overlook the many good things that have happened."
Racecourse chairman Mark Guterman said Smith had done everything that could have been expected of him over the past 12 months.
"He's sorted things out and turned the club around in terms of what happens on the pitch, so he and his staff have done a tremendous job, from the first team down to the youth set-up."
"And, while we won more games than we lost, I'm also delighted that we play with something of a swagger and that when we are on song, we are more than a match for any team in this division.
"If we continue to play as we did against Blackpool, we can do even better in 2004 than we did this year."
In terms of behind-the-scenes progress, Guterman added: "Financial-ly, too, we've made a lot of headway and we have cleared a lot of the debts, but there is still a lot to do on that score.
"On top of the problems Wrexham were already facing when I took over, we are still feeling the repercussions of the collapse of the ITV Digital television deal, which would have been a major blow to any business, whatever its size. But the club is being run sensibly now.
"We have cut the wage bill and we are still working on lots of ideas to further improve the position.
"The key thing, though, is that everyone is pulling in the same direction."
If Smith has just one wish for the New Year, it is that striker Chris Armstrong finally puts behind him a catalogue of injury problems.
"We got him over his Achilles problems and he scored two goals in his first outing in the reserves but then he injured his knee," he said.
"Again we have now got him to the stage of him just needing to play games but if he breaks down again then we do have problems."
Armstrong, who was among the substitutes on Sunday, looks certain to keep his place for Saturday's visit of Sheffield Wednesday in a near full-strength squad as Wrexham bid to secure a fourth successive victory.
Only fellow striker Lee Jones is missing - with a hamstring injury that looks likely to keep him out of action for up to a month.