MARC Williams proved he is back to full fitness as Wrexham kick-started their pre-season programme with an encouraging 1-1 draw at home to Coventry City on Saturday.
Nearly five months after a broken metatarsal cut short the most productive campaign of his career, the 21-year-old striker put Dean Saunders’ new-look side ahead in the 24th minute when he tapped in after Neil Taylor capitalised on a goalkeeping error.
Williams and Wes Baynes, one of 10 changes by Dragons boss Saunders at the break, had chances to extend the advantage before the Championship visitors equalised midway through the second half when Jermaine Grandison headed past the impressive Chris Maxwell.
Saunders said: “Hopefully it’s given the lads a bit of confidence because they played really well. The first half was excellent.”
Summer signings Sam Williamson, Mark Jones, Nathan Fairhurst, Jamie McCluskey, Adrian Cieslewicz, Gareth Taylor and Mansour Assoumani were all on show for Wrexham along with trialists Scotsman Chris Smith, Argentinean Joaquin Medinilla-Cabotti, Faroes Islander Jonas Tor Naes and Frenchman Hebi Taboubi.
But the clash came too early for new loan signing from Liverpool, goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis. The Australian 18-year-old, highly rated by Anfield boss Rafa Benitez, is set to put pen to paper with the Dragons and will provide competition for Wales Under 21s international Maxwell.
Assoumani’s paperwork did go through in time, however, and that allowed the French defender to make a 15-minute cameo off the bench.
Saunders beat off competition from across Europe to complete a one-year deal for the 26-year-old, who impressed during his short spell with the club towards the end of last season.
Out-of-contract Forest Green Rovers hitman Andy Mangan, the Blue Square Premier’s leading goalscorer in 2008-09, might not be heading for the Racecourse, however. The 22-year-old striker has been charged by the FA with breaching betting rules and, with the governing body’s verdict not expected to be heard until a day before the season starts on August 8, Saunders could turn his attentions elsewhere.
Saunders is also chasing an un-named Premier League right-back but he has lost out on Liverpool midfielder Ryan Flynn, who has signed a season-long loan with the Scottish Premier League’s Falkirk.
The Dragons drew 0-0 at Welsh Premier League Prestatyn Town on Monday evening, fielding much-changed teams in each half. They also made the trip to UniBond League Colwyn Bay last night in a match played after the Chronicle went to press.
Wrexham’s next pre-season friendly comes at home to the Championship’s Preston North End on Tuesday (7.30pm).
The Dragons have been re-entered into the FAW Youth Cup and have been handed a first-round draw at home to neighbours Elements Cefn Druids.