DENNIS LAWRENCE believes Wrexham have lost that "fear factor" as his former club prepares for a 14th campaign in non-league.
The Reds, relegated from the Football League in 2008, narrowly missed out on a play-off spot in 2020-21 and are the longest serving club in the fifth tier.
The high profile takeover by Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds has raised hopes of a promotion push next season but Lawrence, who made more than 200 appearance for Wrexham from 2001-06, says there is no given right that the Reds can finally end the Football League exile.
"It looks like exciting times for the football club," said Lawrence, who still lives in the town.
"I don't think anybody would have believed Wrexham would be there for so long.
"At the end of the day you have got to compete and you have got to do well.
"One of my biggest fears in the early days when Wrexham went down was the longer you stay there, you lose that fear factor; a lot of clubs don't see us as they would have when we initially went down.
"Wrexham is a massive football club and although I would like to say they don't deserve to be there, you have got to perform, get results and make it happen."
Wrexham parted company with manager Dean Keates after failing to secure a top-seven finish.
The search for Keates' successor is on-going and Lawrence, who was manager of the Trinidad and Tobago national side from 2017-19, has been linked with the position but he brushed aside the speculation.
"It is fantastic to be linked with Wrexham," said Lawrence.
"You don't need to hide the fact that everybody knows my affiliation with the club, and what I feel about the club.
"The people will make the decision that is best for the football club. I will always wish the club well and continue to support the club.
"Wrexham Football Club will always be a part of me because it is the first club I played for when I came to the United Kingdom so I have got a lot of respect for the club."
Lawrence, who became the first Wrexham player to play at a World Cup when he started all three of Trinidad and Tobago's games in the 2006 edition, is currently working as a coach mentor for the FAW Trust but the 46-year-old refuses to rule out a return to management.
"I have been doing coach mentoring with the FAW Trust for the last couple of months," said Lawrence.
"It is something different and something I wanted to experience because I am always looking to educate myself.
"This biggest thing for me is to see how that could improve me as a coach.
"It would be nice to get back on the grass at some point but I just take things in my stride and wait until the opportunity comes."
SOURCE: Wrexham Leader