John Rooney admits he needs to up his performance levels as Wrexham head into massive back-to-back games with Southport over the festive period.
The Dragons entertain the Sandgrounders on Boxing Day before Travelling to Haig Avenue for the return National League clash with Steve Burr’s side on New Year’s Day.
Wrexham head into the contest on the back of a four game losing run that has seen them not only slip firmly in to the relegation battle, but also exit the FA Trophy at the first hurdle.
It has been a frustrating time for the Dragons of late, who on the back of their rousing 3-1 win at home over then league leaders Forest Green Rovers, slipped to successive losses at 10-man Lincoln City (1-0), an ‘embarrassing’ 3-0 defeat at home to Macclesfield Town, an FA Trophy exit against Tranmere Rovers at home and then latterly a 1-0 loss on the 3G artificial pitch at Gander Green Lane to Sutton United.
Wrexham head into the double festive header only five points clear of Southport – who occupy the final relegation spot following Braintree’s win over Boreham Wood in midweek – and Rooney, who played under Burr last season at Chester, is only too aware of the need to pick up results quickly.
“It is two really big games for us,” said Rooney. “Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, they are two winnable games and we have got to go out there and get the six points.
“It hasn’t been the best performances recently and all the lads know that and we want to put that right in the next two games.
“We have had a good week this week before the Christmas period and have had some good training sessions, now we need to put the stuff that we work on into the games.
“We should have got something from Sutton even though it still wasn’t a good performance from us. The points were there to be taken and the three points should have been ours. But it wasn’t a good enough performance and we need to start putting things right, and picking more points up.
“We don’t want to be looking that way, we need to pull our finger out and start picking points up or we will get sucked in to the relegation battle.”
Rooney has become something of a divisive figure among Wrexham fans, and has often been on the wrong end of the home faithful as they vent their frustrations in what has been a disappointing campaign.
Only last week former X-Factor contestant Wagner took to social media to ridicule the former Deva Stadium favourite, the Brazilian talent show competitor taking requests for festive shout-outs and seemingly replying to the request of a Chester supporter.
Rooney admits his own form has not been up to the required standard, and insist he will “put it right” starting with the visit of Southport on Boxing Day.
He added: “I know I am not doing as well as I can do, and that is one thing I need to put right myself. Starting Boxing Day I need to put it right.
“It doesn’t bother me (the criticism), I have got that personality about me, but I know coming from the rivals (Chester), and if things aren’t going right then the fans will probably be first to get on me because of that, but stuff like that doesn’t bother me,
“You want to play in every game and hopefully we can start putting stuff right, and Boxing Day get the points on the board.”
Southport could have three former Wrexham players in their ranks for the encounter with the Dragons – the Sandgrounders containing Ross White, Neil Ashton and James Caton in their ranks.
However, they will be without former Dragons striker James Gray, who has had his contract mutually terminated by the Haig Avenue side.
A statement on the club website said: “Southport FC have agreed to mutually terminate James Gray’s contract. Southport FC would like to wish James good luck in his future footballing career and thank him for his services.”
WREXHAM (probable): Jalal; Edwards, Riley, Tilt, J Evans; Barry, Smith, Rooney; Rutherford, White, Pyke. SUBS: Dunn, R Evans, Powell, Harrad, McDonagh.
SOUTHPORT (from): Springthorpe, Norman; White, Ashton, Thompson, Andrai Jones, Aaron Jones, R Higgins, J Higgins; Nolan, Grimes, McKenna, Caton, Lussey, Weeks; Jerome, Allen.
REFEREE: Simon Barrow.
Source : DailyPost