WREXHAM'S latest signing Dean Bennett was yesterday reunited with Denis Smith - six years after being cast into the football wilderness by the Dragons boss.
Back in 1998, Smith was manager of West Bromwich Albion and Bennett, now 26, was a young midfielder hoping to have his contract with the Midlands outfit extended.
His dreams were shattered, however, when he was told to find a new club by the Baggies, but he was soon snapped up by non-league Bromsgrove Rovers where he impressed enough to earn a move to Kidderminster Harriers in 1999.
Over the last five years, Bennett has matured into a key player with the League Two side - but he had no hesitation in leaving Aggborough to link up with Smith once again.
Bennett, who yesterday signed a two-year deal at the Racecourse, said: "I was a pro for two years at the Albion - and Smith released me!
"I was only a young lad but I think it served me better because I ended up at Kidderminster and we went up (from the Conference) in my first year there. But this is a fresh challenge and I'm looking forward to it."
Smith moved for Wolverhampton-born Bennett after discovering on Monday that fans favourite Carlos Edwards had been ruled out until the new year due to a serious knee injury sustained while on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago.
It's likely Bennett will be employed in Edwards' right wingback role next season - but the Dragons' new signing is a versatile player willing to fill in wherever he's needed.
"I can play anywhere really," he said. "As long as I'm in the team I'm not bothered where I play. At Kidderminster I played on the wings, up front, and I played a lot in centre midfield.
"It'd be nice to settle in one position here but I suppose the team comes first. I know I've got some big shoes to fill - I've heard all about Carlos (Edwards)!"
Bennett, who was a team-mate of recent Wrexham signing Danny Williams at Aggborough, was out of contract at Kidderminster. He'd reportedly made a verbal agreement to re-sign - but instead decided on a move to North Wales.
Smith yesterday admitted the player first came to his attention while he was following the progress of Williams at Kidderminster.
Fearing he might have to sell the highly-rated Edwards this summer, the Wrexham boss earmarked Bennett as a possible replacement for the flying Trinidadian.
"I've had my eye on him for a while," said Smith. "At the end of the season everybody was telling me Carlos was going, and I thought I'd make one or two enquiries and get in touch with him (Bennett).
"I told him I might be interested if anything happened to Carlos, and unfortunately something has happened with Carlos - he's staying here but he's injured.
"You can't replace Carlos. I don't think it's fair to compare them, but I expect Dean to do a good job for us."
The Wrexham boss added: "He's moved here for his career. We're a division above and he's been at Kidderminster for a while. He sees this as a challenge.
"He's got pace and power and gets his crosses in. He's a big, strong lad and he's quick."
Bennett played almost 200 league games for Kidderminster and scored seven goals in all competitions last season.
Meanwhile, Trinidadian centre-back Dennis Lawrence, who was granted a work permit extension on Wednesday, is expected at the Racecourse today to pen a new three-year deal.
Former Wrexham midfielder Steve Thomas yesterday joined Darlington.