DENIS SMITH will hand debuts to his five summer signings tonight as Wrexham kick-off their pre-season campaign with a home clash against Stoke City.
Defender Andy Holt yesterday became the Dragons' fifth and final close-season recruit, following the arrival of midfielder Danny Williams, wing-backs Dean Bennett and Alex Smith, and goal-keeper Matt Baker.
Holt was released by Hull City at the end of last season and will play on the left-hand side of Wrexham's centre-back trio tonight, despite only meeting his new team-mates for the first time yesterday morning.
The 26-year-old has signed a two-year deal and manager Smith last night confirmed Holt's arrival signalled the end of his dealings in the transfer market this summer.
Having brought in five new faces on a shoestring budget, the Wrexham boss is now turning his attentions to getting the team to gel before the League One campaign kicks-off next month. And tonight's friendly against Coca-Cola Championship side Stoke marks the start of that process.
Smith said: "Andy's arrival completes the signings for the pre-season. Hopefully now we can start putting everything all together.
"We've got new players to bed in and we've got three weeks or so to do it.
"Most players can play in a 4-4-2 but our system (3-5-2) is slightly different and we've got to get players settled in pretty quickly."
As well as being able to play at centre-back, the 6ft 1in Holt can also play at left-back, left wing-back or left midfield.
Having joined Wrexham a couple of weeks into their pre-season build-up, he is behind the rest of the squad in terms of fitness and unlikely to play the full 90 minutes tonight.
Born in Stockport, Holt started his career with Oldham Athletic before joining Hull in a £150,000 deal in 2001. He sees his move to Wrexham as a chance to start playing first-team football again after falling out of favour with Tigers manager Peter Taylor last term.
He said: "I'm delighted to be here and can't wait to get going.
"I didn't play as much as I wanted to last year. It was a good season for Hull, but at the end of the day I wasn't getting enough football. I wanted to find some first-team football so I've come here." Looking ahead to tonight's clash, Wrexham boss Smith added: "I'd expect all of the new lads to play. Baker will start in goal. Then Smith and Holt will both play on the left.
"I'll play Danny Williams in the middle and Bennett will play on the right. Obviously with Bennett, Smith and Holt (who missed the start of pre-season training) I'm not quite sure whether their fitness levels are up to playing a full game yet.
"But they'll all be out there and I expect them to enjoy it."
Only the Sainsbury's Stand will be open to home fans tonight, with admission £5 for adults and £3 concessions. Kick-off is 7.45pm.
Meanwhile, Wrexham's Racecourse friendly with Osasuna on Tuesday, July 27 has been cancelled. The Spanish Primera Liga will now not even be in the country on the day of the game.
* WREXHAM Reserves defeated Holyhead Hotspurs 3-0 in a friendly at Colliers Park on Saturday. Andy Spencer, Mike Williams and Matty Done scored the goals.