Wrexham head into Monday’s televised FA Cup second round clash against League Two leaders Oxford in confident mood, having been able to take plenty of inspiration from fellow Conference side Gateshead.
With the match at the Racecourse Ground live on BT Sport, the Dragons will know that Chris Wilder’s side were taken all the way by Gateshead in the first round last week, progressing only after an extra-time penalty from Deane Smalley in the 116th minute.
But for much of the game at the International Stadium, the side just four places above Wrexham in the league were much the better team, dominating possession and wasting a number of glorious opportunities to cause an upset.
But with the fifth-most attacking returns in the league, with 34 goals in 21 games, player manager Andy Morrell will know that he has the firepower to ensure Oxford aren’t able to ride their luck for a second successive game against lower league opposition.
Morrell himself has scored twice of late and is 8/1 to score first on Monday, with the 39-year-old filling in for the injured joint top scorer Brett Ormerod, who is expected to return to the line-up after a full recovery from a hip injury (7/1).
Also in contention following his return from a ban is Andy Bishop (7/1), another striker capable of finding the net, with three of his five league goals this campaign coming in a thrilling 3-2 home win over Gateshead last month.
That win came sandwiched inbetween an impressive recent home run of seven wins on the trot in all competitions at the Racecourse Ground. It makes the 13/8 available on Wrexham making it a memorable eighth a tempting shout.
But Oxford are League Two leaders for good reason, and will also be confident of making the FA Cup third round for the second consecutive season following a ten year wait before their 3-0 third round loss to Sheffield United last season.
But with a sustained promotion challenge the main objective for this season, Wilder may be tempted to ring the changes given that his side play again just five days later against promotion rivals Dagenham and Redbridge. With that in mind, the pick of the scorecasts looks to be the returning Ormerod scoring first and Wrexham prevailing 1-0, at juicy odds of 50/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.