WREXHAM manager Brian Carey’s close season signings have made it clear he is determined to increase competition for shirts next season.
And defender Mike Williams is already looking forward to staking a claim for regular first-team football to build on his promising career start with both club and country.
The 20-year-old product of the Racecourse youth system made 26 league and cup starts for the Dragons last season, which together with his appearances from the bench have left him one short of 50 outings – not bad for someone who signed his first professional contract just 12 months ago.
So impressed with his rapid progress was former boss Denis Smith that he tied Williams down to an additional two-year contract and the youngster, who has been on the Racecourse books since he was 10 – was more than happy to sign on the dotted line.
“I’ve been with the club more than half my life and I’ve been very happy here,” he said last night.
“So I was delighted when the gaffer gave me a new deal halfway through the season, which was a good one for me personally.
“It was my first season as a pro and I was involved in more than 40 games, which I was pleased with, although no one at the club wanted to be involved in the relegation battle in which we found ourselves.
“But I think everyone – players and management – will have learned something from the experience and will be determined not to let it happen again. I hope we will come out of it stronger and better as a team.”
Employed primarily as a left-back and occasional centre-back, Williams added: “As a first year I was taking every game as it came last season and just happy to get a chance.
“It was a case of stepping in to cover either injury or suspension and I’m sure it will be a pretty similar situation next season, but the gaffer wants competition for places and that’s what I’m looking to provide.
“It could mean there is a battle for left-back between me and Ryan (Valentine), which is something I’m looking forward to and it should keep us both on our toes.
“Ryan is the man with the experience but there were occasions last year when I played well enough to keep him out of the team and that’s an ideal situation for any manager.
“I’m sure the gaffer has an idea of what his first-choice line-up will be next season and if Ryan’s ahead of me I’ll still be a member of the squad and working even harder to impress.
“When a chance to play comes along you have to be ready to take it.”
Williams recognises that playing regularly will enhance his chances of adding to the five Wales under-21 caps he has already won and he is keen to be part of the next Uefa Championship campaign that gets under way in the autumn.
“I know there is a friendly coming up against Sweden in August and then the tournament, which involves eight or more games over the next two seasons, starts in September,” he added.
“And I know (U21 boss) Brian Flynn prefers his players to be turning out regularly for their clubs and, while my main priority will always be Wrexham, it would be great to have more opportunities to play international football.
“So the first aim is to have a good season with my club and hopefully that will involve Wrexham being at the top end of the table this time round.”
Meanwhile, the Racecourse ticket office is extending its opening hours from now until Friday week to enable fans to purchase season tickets and tickets for the July 7 friendly against Liverpool.
This week's opening hours are 9.30-5.30 and the office will also be open on Saturday 10-3 and Sunday 10-1.
From Monday to Friday next week the office will close at 6pm and supporters are reminded there will be no on-day sales on the day of the match.