WREXHAM summer signing Chris Llewellyn is looking forward to a Race-course return tomorrow and a reunion with former Norwich City team-mate Craig Bellamy.
Llewellyn, who re-joined the Dragons 12 months after a £50,000 move to Hartlepool United, will line up for Denis Smith's men against a strong Liverpool side that includes Wales striker Bellamy making his first outing for the Premiership giants following his close-season move from Blackburn Rovers.
"It's a case of long-time no-see for me and Craig, so I'm looking forward to it," said Llewellyn yesterday.
"As kids we travelled together from South Wales to Norwich every week and we played together at every age level for both club and country.
"We've kept in touch on and off but it's been a while since we had a good chat."
With Anfield boss Rafa Benitez likely to rest players who were on World Cup duty last month, Bellamy is set to lead the line alongside Robbie Fowler and Llewellyn reckons the pair will prove a handful for the Wrexham defence.
"It's not bad, is it?," he added. "They are both verygood players and, while Robbie might not be as quick as he was, he holds the ball up well and Iexpect to see Craig running off him.
"It's a real test for our lads at the back and they'll be grateful that they won't be coming up against that sort of quality when the season gets under way for real.
"As far as Craig is concerned, it's a great move for him and for Liverpool. He's the type of player to give them that extraedge they need to push for the title."
Bellamy, who last played at the Re-course in a friendly international against Canada two years ago, has fond memories of the stadium.
"I've been lucky enough to play at Wrexham a few times with Wales and I've always enjoyed going there," he said.
"We played Canada at the Racecourse and the atmo-sphere was excellent, so to play for Liverpool on my debut is going to be a massive honour.
"The fans in North Wales have always been verysupportive towards me so I'm veryexcited and I can't wait until Saturday."
Delighted to be back in North Wales, where he maintained his home during his brief stay in the North East, Llewellyn admitted he made a mistake in leaving last summer.
"There were a lot of factors involved last year, including the fact that Wrexham received afee for me at atime when they needed the money," he said.
"But the club had been relegated through no fault of what happened on the pitch and Hartlepool had just missed out on the play-offs.
"I felt they had a chance of going on and into the Championship and it's every play-er's ambition to play at the highest possible level, but things didn't work out like that. We've got a little baby and my wife couldn't settle up there, so I was doing a lot of travelling and not getting into the side on a regular basis. Then the manager got sacked and things went from bad to worse.
"In fact the whole thing was abit of a nightmare and I was really pleased when I was offered the chance to come back to Wrexham. My house is just down the road and we were able to move straight in."
Employed chiefly as a striker during his first season at the Racecourse, Llewellyn expects a bit more variety this time.
"The gaffer said he's going to try afew different systems this year and will try to use me to the best advantage," he said. "I played a lot of games for Norwich in left midfield, while I played as a striker here before. But I don't really mind where I play as long as I'm in the side."
Wrexham's preparations for what should be close to a sell-out friendly were hit yesterday when midfield trio Darren
Ferguson, Danny Williams and Matt Crowell missed training due to stomach upsets, but manager Smith - who has already lost Lee McEvilly and Lee Roche to long-term injuries - remained philosophical.
"I'm sure the three lads will be okay for Saturday," he said. "As for the two Lees, they are of no use to me while they are injured, so there's no point in worrying about them until they are fit."