Andy Morrell: Former manager hopes Wrexham can go one better than 2013

Wrexham took the National League title race to the final day but lost 3-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Sunday, 22 May Kick-off:16:15 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Sport online. Match report on the BBC Sport website and app.

Andy Morrell is better placed than anyone to assess what awaits Wrexham during the final few weeks of their season.

Wrexham’s campaign is far from over – they face Bromley in the FA Trophy final on Sunday before the National League play-offs and their bid to secure a return to the EFL.

Morrell was the manager who guided the Dragons to an FA Trophy final win in 2013, only to suffer play-off final heartache against Newport County at Wembley a few weeks later.

The play-offs will once again decide Wrexham’s fate after they finished second to Stockport County in the title race and as a result missed out on automatic promotion.

“As a season, on the whole they’ve got to be very, very proud of how far they pushed a very good Stockport team right to the very end,” Morrell said.

“I don’t think anybody would have said that was possible at the end of March, so they did really well.

“I think they will look back and rue the way they started the season.

“Before Christmas they weren’t brilliant and probably had too many draws.

“But January was a brilliant month for them in the transfer market, bringing in two or three top-quality players, and that really kickstarted them.

“The run they had from then was exceptional and they just missed out, but they’re still in very good form going into the FA Trophy final and play-offs.”

Wrexham’s second-place finish guaranteed them a home semi-final against Notts County or Grimsby Town on Saturday, 28 May.

Andy Morrell
Andy Morrell celebrates with the FA Trophy following Wrexham’s win over Grimsby in 2013

Solihull Moors will face FC Halifax Town or Chesterfield in the other semi-final but Morrell says Wrexham will not fear anyone.

“You’ve got to do your homework and due diligence like they have done probably throughout the season,” Morrell told BBC Wales.

“But I think most of the other teams will be fearing Wrexham the way they’ve been playing.”

Wrexham were relegated from the Football League in 2008 and have spent 14 seasons in English football’s fifth tier.

Morrell, who came as close as anyone to taking Wrexham back up, played for the club during their time in the Football League.

“It would mean so much because it’s been far too long,” Morrell said.

“We got close on a few occasions but were never able to get over that line.

“You think that if they can get it across the line this year then they will only go from strength to strength.”

Wrexham will be making their fourth visit to Wembley for the FA Trophy final against fellow National League side Bromley.

While promotion remains Wrexham’s priority, Morrell does not think the final will be a distraction for Phil Parkinson’s men.

“I think it would have been worse not having a game for so long,” said Morrell, who has also managed Tamworth and Hednesford Town.

“You could go two weeks without a game and you don’t know what might happen in those two weeks.

“It’s a final so you can be massively up for it and it will be competitive because Bromley are a half-decent team and have done really well this year.

“I’m really looking forward to the day and I’m sure the players and management are.

“I know that the fans are because they are going in their droves and hopefully they can bring that trophy back for a second time.”

The FA Trophy final brings back memories for Morrell, who led Wrexham out as manager at Wembley nine years ago.

He also played in the game, which the north Wales club won on penalties against Grimsby.

Wrexham owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds
Wrexham owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds visited the club for the first time in October 2021

“I was so pleased to get the group of players to Wembley for the first time in the club’s history, which was an immensely proud moment,” he said.

“To go and win it was the best feeling in the world and something I’ll never forget.”

Wrexham’s 2013 FA Trophy triumph came during when the Supporters’ Trust owned the club.

The Trust had taken after a period of uncertainty which had included relegations, administration and ownership changes.

Morrell acknowledges that spell in the club’s history is far removed from the present situation, with Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney at the helm.

“I really enjoyed my time and the bit of firefighting we had to do in those times, to try and take it from an owner that wasn’t that interested through to the fans and that transition,” he added.

“It wasn’t easy but I learnt a lot from that situation. Now you couldn’t ask for two better owners.

“They’ve lit the fire under the club and it’s ignited and gone to a place I don’t think anybody’s ever dreamt would be so successful.

“It’s not just on the pitch – it’s everywhere around the place. They’ve got everybody on board and we’re only looking one way now as a whole club. You can feel it.”

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