WREXHAM defender Andy Holt is backing the crop of emerging Racecourse youngsters to keep the club's promotion chase on course in tonight's home meeting with Rushden & Diamonds.
The 27-year-old wing-back counts himself as one of the veterans in a youthful Dragons squad that boasts no fewer than eight teenagers and reckons that the fresh-faced kids have already shown they can compete with the best that League Two has to offer.
He said: "In our last game against Wycombe only Dennis Lawrence and Jim Whitley were over the age of 30 and there must have been at least six or seven youngsters in the team, which is incredible, given the performance.
"They were at it non-stop for the whole 90 minutes and, though we won 2-0, it was always very comfortable and we possibly could have scored more.
"We expected Wycombe to come back at us, which they did, and they probably had more possession through the game as a whole, but they didn't create a chance worth mentioning.
"And I've absolutely no doubt that the kids will have taken a great deal of confidence from their performance and will be looking to repeat it against Rushden tomorrow evening."
Holt said the Wycombe result made Saturday's postponement at Macclesfield Town all the more disappointing, particularly as Wrexham were now three matches behind most of their rivals.
"After beating the top-of-the-table team, you can't wait to bring on the next game, so we were gutted when the match was called off," he added.
"But we'll just have to take our enthusiasm into tomorrow and try to stay in touch with the teams above us.
"It's all very well having three games in hand, but we need to win them all to get into the promotion places.
"All of them are away and our form on that score has not been the best this season, so there is a risk that we could tumble into mid-table or even worse.
"But it's fair to say we are not even contemplating that because, despite the injury problems we've had, we still believe a finish in the play-off spots is the least we are capable of.
"And if we win our games in hand, we'll be up there challenging at exactly the right time of the season."
Wrexham manager Denis Smith claimed the third postponement of the season would bring more unwelcome headaches, especially as the resceduled Moss Rose trip set for March 14.
He said: "With a limited number of players available we don't really want to be playing three games every eight days, and going to Macclesfield on March 14 means we'll have three successive away games, which is not an ideal situation.
"We had been going there last Saturday in an extremely positive frame of mind, but who knows how things will change over the course of a month so it's very frustrating."
The Dragons boss names an unchanged squad of 17 for tonight's game but is warning his players not to expect a repeat of the comfortable 2-0 win at Nene Park just over four weeks ago.
Rushden boss Barry Hunter, a former Racecourse favourite, has made wholesale changes in personnel and an impressive victory over Notts County at the weekend suggests he is now getting his side on the right track.
"I think they may have nine different players from when we played them last month," added Smith..
"Given their position at the foot of the table, they've obviously decided to give it a go and it looks as though that policy is beginning to pay dividends.
"But if Mark Jones can score two goals like he did when we played down there, I don't think they'll have an answer to it.
And I'm looking forward to seeing Matt Derbyshire make his debut for us. He's got a fair turn of pace and I reckon his partnership with
Sam Williams up front could turn out to be something special."
* The recently-formed Buckley Reds are meeting at the Crown & Anchor, Buckley tomorrow at 8pm.
League Two, Wrexham v Rushden & Diamonds, Racecourse, tonight, 7.45pm
WREXHAM (probable): Ingham; Pejic, D Williams, Lawrence; Spender, Crowell, Whitley, Mark Jones, Holt; Derbyshire, S Williams. Subs (from): Michael Jones, Alex Smith, Mike Williams, Mark Williams, Done, Mackin.
RUSHDEN (from): Tynan; Gulliver, Gier, Broughton, Mikolanda, Tomlin, Caskey, Mills, Hatswell, Bull, Kelly, Stokes, Berry, Nicholls, Crane, Savage.
REFEREE: Lee Mason
BETTING (bet365.com) Wrexham 8/13, Rushden 7/2, Draw 11/4. First goalscorer: Sam Williams 11/2, Mark Jones 6/1, Drewe Broughton 9/1.