WREXHAM manager Dean Saunders yesterday unveiled two new loan signings as his response to the club’s ignominious midweek FA Cup exit at the hands of Eastwood Town.
Stoke City defender Ritchie De Laet and midfield player Angelos Tsiaklis from Manchester City, who were both involved in the Dragons’ friendly match on Wednesday, have been signed for a month and will make their debuts in this afternoon’s Blue Square Premier clash with Lewes at the Racecourse.
Following Tuesday’s Coronation Park debacle, Saunders had vowed to strengthen his squad and believes the two new recruits fit the bill perfectly in terms of improving the depth of talent available to him.
“After going out of the FA Cup as we did on Tuesday, the only consolation for me is that it did not cost us three league points,” said the Dragons boss yesterday.
“I said then I would do something about the defeat and I have.”
Belgian full-back De Laet, 20, cost Stoke £200,000 from Antwerp in 2007 and guested for Wrexham in their behind closed doors game at Manchester City, for whom Cypriot teenager Tsiaklis, a member of City’s FA Youth Cup-winning team last season, played.
De Laet, who described himself as an attack-minded right back, said he had not hesitated to accept Wrexham’s offer and viewed it as an opportunity to play regular first-team football and possibly further his career at the same time.
“My agent recommended the move because Wrexham have a good reputation, despite their current position,” he added.
“I will be playing every week in front of decent crowds and the facilities here demonstrate that the club can bounce back into the Football League.
“If Stoke had remained in the Championship I might have been in with a chance of first-team football, but they have brought in more high-profile players to reflect their promotion and it’s been tougher for me to shine.
“I will be able to put myself in the shop window during my spell here so it would be nice to think that I can help Wrexham and they can help me too.”
For his part, Saunders said: “I’m delighted that (Stoke manager) Tony Pulis has allowed Ritchie to join us. He played 45 minutes for us in the week and I saw enough to know that he will improve us.
“Angelos was in the City side and reminds me a lot of Joe Allen. He is a good footballer and he is very keen to impress during his spell with us. He will definitely play tomorrow at the centre of midfield.
“Since we lost Joe and Andy Fleming to injury it’s an area of the pitch that has caused some concern and it cost us dearly in the two Cup games against Eastwood. Hopefully Angelos will make a difference there.”
Saunders admitted that he would have preferred more time to consider his options as Wrexham go in search of a fourth straight league victory against a Lewes side currently propping up the table.
“I haven’t seen as much of the two lads as I would have liked,” he added. “But it has been a whirlwind three or four weeks since I came in and there simply has not been enough time to get out and about to watch as many games as I would have liked.
“In the case of Ritchie and Angelos it very much means I am backing my own snap judgement because what I saw on Tuesday night meant I had to act quickly if we want to ensure that we continue to climb up the league table.
“I have already apologised to the fans that travelled to Eastwood and I hope they and everyone who has been backing me since I came in will be there again tomorrow because I am determined to improve everything at the club.
“Tuesday’s result has gone and there’s nothing we can do about it, but I can promise everybody that nothing has changed in terms of my attitude to what is important. We are bound to have a few stumbles along the way but tomorrow’s game is another opportunity for us and we have to make sure we take it.”
Lewes manager Kevin Keehan has also been active in the loan transfer market following his side’s midweek FA Cup defeat at the hands of minnows, Leiston.
Defender Adam Hinshelwood has been signed from Division One side Brighton on a month’s loan as cover for Danny Cullip as he recovers from injury.
Keehan was also hoping to re-sign Aswad Thomas on loan from Charlton after injuries cast doubts over striker Scott Taylor and midfielder Michael Standing this afternoon.
The Lewes boss, whose future could be up for discussion at an emergency board meeting called for next week, said: “It’s not going to be easy. Wrexham were unbeaten under their new manager until the FA Cup game so it is going to be difficult.
“Lewes against Wrexham in a league match is not something people would have predicted a short time ago so we know it won’t be an easy game.
“But no game is easy for us in this league and there are very few easy games for anyone.
“I would like to see a much improved performance and obviously bringing in loan players is going to help strengthen the side.”