FRENCH midfielder Hedi Taboubi improved his chances of earning a contract at Wrexham after impressing boss Dean Saunders last night.
The trialist played 90 minutes at Welsh Premier Prestatyn Town, who were well worth the goalless draw, but Saunders was more interested in performances than results.
“Taboubi was head and shoulders above everyone on the pitch,” said Saunders. “And if I’ve learned anything tonight it is that he deserves another chance against Colwyn Bay on Wednesday.
“He was trying a bit too hard to impress, which is understandable to some extent and the people who were receiving the ball from him didn’t do as well as they might have.
“But when you are on trial it’s difficult and he was trying some impossible things.”
Saunders revealed that England C international Andy Fleming also passed an important test.
“I wanted Fleming to play alongside the French lad to see how they would get on and he did well too,” added the Dragons boss.
“He was not allowed to pass the ball backwards tonight on my instructions and that was a little test for him which he passed, with the exception of one pass.
“But it was a tough game for us and it would be good if our reserve team was allowed to play in the Welsh Premier. This is what these games are all about, to see what players can do and make some decisions on them.”
Of Wrexham’s starting line-up at Bastion Road, only goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, Fleming and striker Obi Anoruo had played first team football last season, the remainder of the side made up of youth players and trialists.
And Taboubi was never far from the action, constantly making himself available to receive the ball even if his distribution – particularly when trying to spread play to the flanks – was somewhat ambitious.
There was an early scare for the hosts when Steve Abbot met a free kick from Joaquin Midenilla Cabotti, steering a header beyond goalkeeper Jon Dunt but fractionally too high. Wrexham again went close from a set piece, Taboubi curling a free kick just over.
But such goalmouth incidents were few and far between, thanks in no small measure to the hard work and rugged determination of the Seasiders.
And Prestatyn went closest to breaking the deadlock on 23 minutes when Mike Parker’s cross was met by Andy Moran, whose first-time shot flew straight at Chris Maxwell.
Among five Wrexham changes for the second half, Polish trialists Bart Fogler, a goalkeeper, and defender Marek Lendzion were thrown in, less than 24 hours after arriving in North Wales.
But it was another substitute, the more familiar Christian Smith who tested Dunt with a sharp effort from outside the penalty area in the 50th minute as the Dragons tried to up the pace, without much success.
And the subsequent departure of Fleming – the Dragons’ best player – and Abbott, replaced by youngsters Jamie Morton and Matty Hurdman, merely added to the piecemeal nature of the action with the home side also making several changes.
As the pace of the game showed signs of taking its toll on Prestatyn, Lendzion broke down the right to deliver a teasing cross that was hacked away and Jamie Morton forced a fine save from Ian Griffiths with a shot from 30 yards.
Morton, still only 15, then unlocked the home defence with a superb pass to pick out Lendzion, but the adventurous defender was forced wide by the excellent Dave Hayes and the chance was gone.
And another opportunity was squandered when Johnny Hunt raced down the left and pulled the ball back to Hurdman, who made a total hash of his shot.
It might have been even more embarrassing had Jamie Duffy at the other end beat Fogler, who had been a virtual spectator for the second period, but was well-placed to gather the substitute’s scrappy effort and then saved Wrexham’s blushes with a fine stop from Russ Jones.
PRESTATYN TOWN: Dunt (Town 45); Jones, Lewis, O’Neill (G Davies 64), Hayes (Duffy 45), Wilson, Parker (A Davies 45), Gibson, Moran (Hannen 64), Harris, Hoult.
WREXHAM: Maxwell (Fogler 45); Tor Naes (Lendzion 45), Chris Smith, Edwards, Hunt; Medinilla-Cabotti (Christian Smith 45), Fleming (Morton 54), Taboubi, Wright (Colbeck 45); Abbott (Hurdman 54), Anoruo (Carding 45).