July 20, 2024

Wrexham could sign a ‘special’ League One promotion winner on a free transfer this summer as Phil Parkinson looks to bolster his squad.

Wrexham’s transfer model since Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds arrived at the club has been predominantly picking up experienced players who have played at a higher level.

The Reds were able to attract former Premier League stars James McClean and Steven Fletcher to the Racecourse Ground last summer.

Phil Parkinson had 10+ players who were aged 30 or above in his squad until some – including Luke Young and Ben Tozer – were two of the nine players to get released at the end of their contracts.

It’s a model that has worked tremendously well in the short term and helped them achieve back-to-back promotions.

And whilst there will come a time when this recruitment focus will need to shift towards younger players, there is a free agent Parkinson must pick up this summer.

Wrexham should sign Conor Hourihane on a free transfer

Fresh from earning promotion to the Championship with Derby County, Conor Hourihane is currently looking for a new club.

The “special” 33-year-old wants a role where he can get a head start on his coaching ready for when he retires but also play a part on the pitch. Hourihane’s former club Barnsley are currently in talks to sign him, but until that deal is finalised, there is every chance Wrexham could swoop in.

The Republic of Ireland maestro featured 41 times in League One, scoring five and assisting eight, with an assist total that betters Wrexham midfielder Elliot Lee.

Although he’s not the most mobile, the veteran can dictate the tempo of a game with his ridiculous passing range and with two workhorses next to him, his creative juices can flow through the rest of the team.

Wrexham possess multiple workhorses in McLean, Lee and Cannon whilst Hourihane’s creative metrics evince his talent. He averaged 1.6 passes per game for Derby last term, created 11 big chances and averaged an 80% pass completion.

If Parkinson has ambitions of taking control of games in League One, he could do with the former Aston Villa man and he also has another weapon that could be of use.

Conor Hourihane is a set-piece specialist

Hourihane boasts a wand of a left foot and he helped Derby score the most goals from set-piece situations in the entire football league.

Whether it’s directly from a free kick or whipped in from a corner, the midfield metronome can produce magic from his left boot.

This could be of help to a Wrexham side who have some tall and powerful players to hit in the box, including Ollie Palmer, Eoghan O’Connell and Steven Fletcher.

Parkinson’s system focuses on spreading the ball out wide for the wing-backs to send crosses into the box. It partly explains why McClean has the most assists in the Wrexham squad.

This way of playing results in a lot of corners and with Hourihane potentially standing over them, the Reds would certainly score more goals from these situations.

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