PREVIEW | "We're going there to win the match"
Manager Stuart Maynard hopes to surf the wave of optimism created by the derby win over Barnet and carry it into Saturday's game at Wrexham.
The Stones are flying high after following up the win over then-table-topping Grimsby with a 1-0 victory against the Bees in front of a record crowd at The Vale last weekend. Maynard's side now face a further test of their National League credentials against Phil Parkinson's side who have scored 11 in their last two wins.
"We enjoyed the Barnet win as a management team but it was mostly for the fans," said the manager. "It was such a hostile atmosphere we wish we could get that every week and that's why there were such passionate scenes at the end. You know there's so much history with what has gone on between the two clubs and they're local rivals too so that one was for the fans as I know and saw how much they all enjoyed that one.
"You know Wrexham are a club that is the polar opposite to us in terms of infrastructure and backing but this will be a great occasion for the club and our fans. It's going to be a packed stadium on Saturday and they've got a squad full of immense firepower and real quality that can go out and hurt teams, they go into it in form as do we and we want the lads to give a good account of ourselves. They will no doubt be looking to win the league this season or at the very least get promoted, it will be a tough test but one we're all looking forward to."
Maynard and his trusty assistant, Matt Saunders, have a welcome selection headache after Alex Dyer and match-winner Rhys Browne came off the bench to perform so well against Barnet in the second half.
"You know we had a few players come back in and they gave a good account of themselves," said Maynard. "Brownie, in terms of ability, is one of the best players in the league and it was great to see him score a goal as he's worked hard in training to get back from his injury. He's just got to apply that week in now. Dyer came on and changed the complexion of the game, but it was just a great team performance all around last week. There's such strong competition for places at the moment and what with a busy schedule and some injuries everyone has their part to play."
Maynard has reshaped his squad and it is now full of hungry, young and vibrant talent and he thinks they will relish going to the Racecourse Ground and putting on a good show. He insists they will not be going to North Wales to make up the numbers.
"It will be a big challenge for our younger players," said Maynard. "They're going out and going to be playing in front of 8,000/9,000 fans. Every time they step out onto the pitch in the National League they are putting themselves in a shop window, what we have here is a place that gives these young players a good opportunity to go out and become professional footballers if they do well here.
"Wrexham have got quality across the pitch, you look at who they recruited in the summer and people like Paul Mullin who got 32 goals in League Two last season, you expect him to be moving up the pyramid instead he's gone there with a number of other quality players who will be going there to win this league and win promotion this season. They would probably contest for promotion in the league above the year after too. That's the level they are at.
"We don't want to give our game plan away too much but we will be going there trying to win the match. We've got Josh Umerah who has been a real handful for defenders in every league game this season and we will want to ask them questions at the back."