A ‘depressed’ Andy Morrell was left to reflect on a ‘horrendous’ night for Wrexham, after a season-ending injury to Danny Wright overshadowed a 1-1 draw against Braintree Town which has seen Wrexham’s chances of play off success diminish.
An exquisite chip from the player-manager had given Wrexham an early lead before Wright dislocated his elbow in innocuous fashion. Braintree pulled level on 18 minutes through Ben Wright and Wrexham squandered a number of opportunities in the second half as they sought a morale and form boosting victory.
Morrell admitted that it had been a ‘horrendous night’ for the club.
“Horrendous night, horrendous. Not the result, not the pitch, not the performance. Nothing like that. I don’t know if I’ve walked under a ladder or walked in front of 100 black cats, but our luck at the minute is horrendous.
“I feel for Dan because he’s been superb and he deserves to be in the play offs and playing on a big stage. Unfortunately he’s fell awkwardly and dislocated his elbow, very similar to like he did against Brighton, and that puts him out for the rest of the season. It couldn’t have been a worse night.”
The injury appeared to have a draining effect on the Wrexham players, whose levels dipped substantially for the rest of the first half.
“We weren’t great,” conceded Morrell, “in the first 15 minutes I thought we were poor. But we got the goal with a bit of luck, and then it was fairly equal. I thought we were the better team second half, I thought we put pressure on them, but we couldn’t score. To say I’m depressed is an understatement.”
Morrell was visibly distraught on the pitch, pacing across the Racecourse pitch as the reality of Wright’s plight sunk in. He admitted that, “quite a lot went through my mind. These things are sent to test us, I suppose. When you’re flying everything seems rosy, but at the minute it seems that everything is conspiring against us. But I think we’re best when our backs are against the wall.
“I think Mansfield have nicked a win tonight, so they can win it at home against us. If I’ve got 11 players I’ll send them to Mansfield, if I haven’t then I might have to play them with 8. We’ll see.”
Morrell had planned to build momentum and form ahead of the play offs, but that is now in disarray and the player-manager admits it will be a struggle to field a competitive side against title-chasing Mansfield on Saturday in the final league game of the campaign.
Asked if he could select his strongest eleven, his reply was blunt “No. I simply can’t.
“The play off next Tuesday or Wednesday is too important. We’ll have to suck it up and see. I don’t want to hand the title to somebody. I don’t want to have to do anything like that. I’ll send what I can because people need games. But I can’t risk losing anymore players because I haven’t got 11 to put out.”
Searching for positives, Morrell praised the ‘brilliant’ contributions of youngsters Leon Clowes, Rob Evans and Bradley Reid, who have done their long-term prospects at the club no harm at all in the closing stages of this season.
“I’m really pleased for Robbie, in a different position tonight as a sitting midfielder. I thought Bradley Reid was a handful, he’s got a massive future in the game – so has Robbie. And Leon’s done himself no harm whatsoever. He heads it and he boots it like an old-fashioned centre-half. I think they’ve all done well for themselves. They’ve given themselves a right chance.”
One area that Morrell has often identified as a weakness has been the quality of the Racecourse pitch. Again he was left to rue a ‘horrendous’ pitch that is increasingly unfit for purpose.
“Nothing can be done about it. It seems to rain every time and the rugby they play on it only makes it worse. So we’re just looking at trying to get it as best as we can. I want to play the beautiful game the beautiful way. But you can’t, you simply can’t. I had one today which I thought I was going to chest, only to see it whip over my head off a bobble. We just have to get on with it, there’s nothing we can do in a week. We’ll get it as right as we can and we’ll crack on.”
With Wrexham guaranteed to finish either 4th or 5th, they will play their first play off leg at home. Morrell insists that he is unconcerned about the identity of his side’s opponents in the semi-final, instead concentrating on the task in hand at the weekend.
“We’ll go for it. I don’t really care about the other results to be honest. I’ll not sleep tonight, I’ll be very tired tomorrow and then I’ll think about a team for Saturday.”
(Pic: Andy Morrell in happier times!)
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