SHAUN WHALLEY can’t wait for the rough and tumble of the Blue Square Premier – because he reckons defenders will so scared they won’t stop fouling him.
Wrexham striker Whalley scored his first goal for the club in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Colwyn Bay, his impressive showing putting him in strong contention for a starting place when the Blue Square Premier kicks off on August 9.
Dragons boss Brian Little remarked after the game on how much Whalley had been fouled during his first full game for Wrexham – but the 20-year-old said no amount of dirty tactics will stop him from running at defences.
“That’s what I do – I take a lot of players on,” said Whalley, who joined Wrexham from Accrington Stanley but has played non-league football with Runcorn and Witton Albion.
“I run at defenders and if they’re not as quick as me then they can bring me down. It was a bit hard (at Colwyn Bay) to be honest, but I’ve played that level before and I expect it.
“If that’s what defenders are doing then it means they don’t want you to keep running at them, so I don’t mind it at all.”
Whalley missed Wrexham’s first two pre-season friendlies against Wolves and Blackpool, and got a 45-minute run-out against Crewe Alexandra.
So he was glad to get 90 minutes against Colwyn Bay after missing Wrexham’s first two pre-season friendlies with a minor ankle injury – and especially glad to score after Wrexham’s strikers had failed to do so in their three games against Football League sides.
“It was a relief and I thought I put in a decent performance,” he said. “I’m obviously looking to score a few goals this season and I was made up to score – that’s obviously what it’s all about at the end of the day. Hopefully that will be the first of many this season.”
Wrexham have one more friendly left in their pre-season campaign, away at Stafford Rangers on Saturday, with Little having already said he will field as close as he can to his strongest side for the game.
Whalley, who turns 21 a week today, said the players don’t know yet who will be in that XI – but being in the team to face Stevenage at the Racecourse a week on Saturday would be the perfect birthday present.
He said: “It’s all hush-hush at the moment. I’m hoping to be playing in the first XI but if I’m not I’ll just work harder to get back into the team.”
And he says competition from fellow strikers Jefferson Louis, Simon Brown, Marc Williams and Michael Proctor will bring out the best in him.
“Of course you want competition for places – I need pushing because that’s when I give my best performances.
“You want to show what you can do and the competition is healthy for the squad.”
The striker is also confident Wrexham can gain promotion back into the Football League next season, saying: “I moved here to try and get Wrexham back into the Football League and hopefully that’s what we’ll do.”