July 20, 2024

On Good Friday, Wrexham plays their first game back in what might be a pivotal match for their aspirations of automatic promotion: at home against League Two leaders Mansfield.

With seven games remaining in their inaugural season back in the EFL, the Red Dragons are now three points behind the Stags in third place in the table.

The team led by Phil Parkinson enters the game at the Racecourse fresh off a convincing 3-1 victory at Grimsby.

Meanwhile, lowly Colchester United held Nigel Clough’s Mansfield to a 1-1 tie last Saturday.

Fans are anticipating an entertaining match between two teams vying for promotion, and we have projected Wrexham’s probable starting lineup.

Wrexham’s Predicted XI vs Mansfield Town

GK: Arthur Okonkwo

Arsenal loanee Okonkwo has kept eleven league clean sheets at Wrexham this season (as per Transfermarkt) in an impressive spell in North Wales, firmly cementing his position as Parkinson’s number one.

The club is understood to be working hard to try and sign him on a permanent basis when his contract with the Gunners ends this summer, but whether he decides to stay could depend on what league they are in next season.

RWB: Luke Bolton

Bolton has found it hard to pin down a starting place since joining the Red Dragons in January.

However, an injury to Ryan Barnett saw him play the full 90 minutes against Grimsby and his composed performance down the right channel should be good enough to earn him another start on Friday.

CB: Max Cleworth

Cleworth is one of the biggest surprise packages to emerge from the latter half of Wrexham’s season and has been in excellent form during the run-in.

The 21-year-old did not see much game time before January, but has gone on to establish himself with some mature displays at the back.

CB: Eoghan O’Connell

O’Connell has been preferred to club captain Ben Tozer as the linchpin of Wrexham’s trio of centre-backs of late.

It looks unlikely he will be unseated either, with his assured presence and experience being a huge asset to Parkinson.

CB: Will Boyle

Boyle endured a difficult start to life at Wrexham, and he invoked the ire of fans after picking up his second red card of the season in a draw with MK Dons last month.

However, it has proved to be somewhat of a turning point for the defender, who now looks more like the player supporters were expecting when he signed from Huddersfield Town in the summer.

LWB: James McClean

One of the main decisions Parkinson faces on Friday is who to start at left wing-back after Jacob Mendy picked up a hamstring injury at Grimsby last weekend.

Former Republic of Ireland international James McClean is available after missing his side’s last two games through suspension.

The former Stoke City player had been a revelation in midfield after being pushed further up the field before his ban, but should go straight back into the starting XI to replace Mendy against Mansfield.

CM: Tom O’Connor

O’Connor is available for selection again after returning sooner than expected from a fractured foot.

Equally capable of playing in defence or midfield, he impressed in the middle of the park against Grimsby, providing an assist for one of the goals.

CM: Andy Cannon

The star man of Wrexham’s win at Grimsby was midfielder Andy Cannon who should be a shoo-in for Friday’s starting XI.

He scored two impressive goals at Blundell Park for a team which had been lacking in attack before the game.

CM: Elliot Lee

Lee has not quite carried the same threat going forward lately compared to the form he was in at the start of the season.

However, he should still be one of the first names on the team sheet due to his ability to get Wrexham moving and he never shirks his responsibilities in midfield.

ST: Ollie Palmer

There has been much debate this season over who is the best partner for Wrexham talisman Paul Mullin up front.

That question appears to have been firmly answered by the fact that Parkinson’s side are unbeaten in the 19 games Ollie Palmer has played in this term.

He might not score as many goals as his strike partner, but the Mullin-Palmer pairing has consistently delivered results, so expect him to start against Mansfield.

ST: Paul Mullin

Mullin netted his 18th goal of the season against Grimsby in a game where he really turned on the style.

His volley in the 42nd-minute was a promising sign ahead of Friday’s important game, as was his delightful shimmy in the build-up to Cannon’s second goal earlier in the half.

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