WREXHAM manager Brian Little has confirmed that Tom Kearney will wear the captain’s armband in tomorrow’s opening match of the season against Stevenage Borough.
And the Dragons boss believes the 27-year old midfield player is the right man for the job, which carries extra responsibility as a result of the new “Respect” campaign that is being introduced throughout the English game.
Kearney, one of seven new arrivals at the Racecourse since last May’s relegation from the Football League, will be expected to act as the liaison between the match referee and his fellow team-mates in a bid to cut down or eradicate dissent by players.
“I was at the league’s meeting on Monday where it was made clear how referees will handle things this season,” said Little.
“The captain will be given more responsibility for the conduct of his players and Tom is the sort of lad who does not get too over-excited.
“It’s a difficult role and it’s something our game is not used to, but I think Tom is the right person to take it on. Over the course of the last six weeks I’ve got to know all the new players and, while he can be a bit fiery at times, everyone listens to him.
“It will be a hard job for Tom but he has the respect of his colleagues and they will have to listen to him if the referee does want to make a point during a game.”
Wrexham begin their Blue Square Premier campaign on the back of an unbeaten pre-season programme and with a virtually clean bill of health.
Little added: “We are ready to play.
“We had a meeting with the players after training and impressed upon them the need to embrace the new situation.
“It is a bit different from the Football League, especially in terms of the television coverage which involves the use of cameras in the dressing rooms and in the dug-outs.
“We are where we are for a reason. We must accept the situation in which we find ourselves and we need to make sure we are as good as we can be from the very first game.”
Defender Neil Taylor, who suffered a hairline fracture in a toe last week, and centre-back Steve Evans, who took a bang in the chest at Stafford Rangers last Saturday, both returned to training yesterday to give the Racecourse boss a full complement of senior players.
And Little said everyone had to be ready to play in what promises to be a hectic opening schedule of six games in 21 days, saying: “The first month of the season is going to be a massive test for us. So to have everyone on the training ground today was the best news possible for us.
“It means that I have a real job on my hands in terms of picking the right team for Saturday, and while it would be great to get through the first month without picking up any injuries, the likelihood is that we’ll get one or two knocks or sprains along the way.”
The club’s advance season ticket sales, although slightly down on last year, are the second highest in six years despite the club’s relegation.
Fans paying for individual tickets by 4.30pm on the day before a game can claim a discount of £3 for adults and £2 for concessions. Junior, executive and family tickets are not included in the offer.