WREXHAM passed their toughest test so far in the run-up to the new Blue Square Premier campaign as they came from behind to beat a Manchester City XI 2-1 on Saturday.
There was no Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor or Robinho on show at the Racecourse – or even so much as a Craig Bellamy – as City’s Premier League stars were away in South Africa.
The Dragons, however, came up against a technically-sound side of youngsters and Dean Saunders’ charges were outclassed for most of the first half.
But they showed character after the break to take the victory with a stunning 30-yard free kick from substitute Wes Baynes and a Mansour Assoumani header from a corner from the impressive Silvio Spann.
“It was a good result on a pitch that was a bit dry which slowed the passing up compared to last week, but the main thing was that we got through without any fresh injuries,” said boss Saunders, who watched an experimental Wrexham XI lose 3-2 at the UniBond League Division One South’s Carlton Town last Thursday night despite a brace from Adrian Cieslewicz.
“We scored from two set plays, the first a great strike from Wes, and I’ve been waiting for one of those because people have been telling me how well he smacks them. On top of that he played well and the second goal was a great header from Mani from a great delivery into the box.”
Cieslewicz is now one of five senior frontmen at Saunders’ disposal after he swooped for Matty Wolfenden and Lamine Sakho. Wolfenden, 22, has signed a one-year deal following his release from League One’s Oldham Athletic and former Lens, Marseille and Leeds and Senegal striker Sakho, 31, will follow suit providing he proves his fitness.
“Matty Wolfenden is a good young player, whose movement is good and he can score goals,” said Saunders. “Just as important is the fact he works very hard for himself and for other players around him.
“As far as Lamine is concerned, he has signed too, but he’s got a minor niggle at the moment so the deal will only go through if I’m happy that there are no major problems fitness-wise.”
The Dragons – who made their way to Blue Square North neighbours Vauxhall Motors on Tuesday for a match that took place after the Chronicle went to press – complete their pre-season programme with home clashes against League One’s Huddersfield Town on Saturday (3pm) and an XI from Premier League new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday (7.30pm).
Wrexham’s Blue Square Premier derby at Chester City has been moved back from February 13 to noon on Sunday, February 14 and made all-ticket. Crisis-hit Chester are yet to play a pre-season friendly as their FA licence has still to be ratified.
Wrexham hold their annual family open day at the Racecourse on Sunday. Starting at 10am, Dean Saunders and his players will be available for autographs and shirt signings. The new Dragons home kit will also be on sale for the first time.