DENIS SMITH last night declared he was more than happy to take a gamble on Lee McEvilly after the striker's amazing Bradford City U-turn.
The 24-year-old Northern Ireland international was pictured wearing a Bantams scarf on Monday after agreeing to sign with the League One outfit.
But after City chiefs insisted he under-went a week's trial to ensure he had fully recovered from a broken metatarsal, McEvilly opted to rejoin Wrexham on a two-year deal.
The forward broke his foot twice during his debut season at the Racecourse last term, but Dragons boss Smith told the Daily Post: "Of course, it's a gamble signing Lee but it's a gamble that I am more than willing to take.
"Lee has proven to me that he can score goals and I am absolutely certain that he will get even better in the future.
"I was not surprised to be honest to see what went on at Bradford because the lad hasn't played since April, but it's obviously good news for us."
Smith believes that Bantams boss Colin Todd was tied by the demands of the boardroom.
But he now hopes the player, who scored seven goals for him in 15 starts in an injury-ravaged season, will spearhead Wrexham's promotion charge next season.
"Colin kept me informed all the way down the line with Lee, so when I knew that he had not signed it was my chance to get him back here," added Smith..
"I was more than delighted to take two days out of my holiday to make sure he
did sign for us once it became clear he would not be going to Bradford.
"Although Bradford had seen Lee play for us and were very interested, I have watched him week in and week out at this club and have been very impressed with his attitude and ability.
"I can understand why he wanted to go to a big club like Bradford because they were in the Premiership not so long ago, but now he sees his future here.
"I know all about his medical history. I went to see a specialist about my ankle the other day and I spent more time
talking about Lee's foot. "The doctors are happy with him and I am happy with the situation."
Smith now hopes that with Wales frontman Mark Jones already agreeing an extension to his contract, a deal to entice Juan Ugarte back to the Racecourse will be tied up over the weekend.
The Basque striker, who has already had two loan spells with the Dragons, is recovering from a knee operation in Spain and is said to be eager to return.
However, McEvilly's turnaround has meant Smith has to re-think his targets
after holding talks with an unnamed Championship striker yesterday.
The manager is still waiting for an answer from the player, who is attached to English south-coast club, and he said: "With Lee rejoining us my priorities have changed slightly.
"At one point, I had two or three on the go in terms of strikers I wanted to sign. Now I am starting to think more about bringing in a wide man."
Smith yesterday, meanwhile, also put former youth players Marc Williams and Jamie Reed on first-team contracts.