DEAN KEATES insists he wants John Rooney to stay and he part of his plans for next season.
Rooney, who is one start away from activating a contract extension, has been named among the substitutes for the last two games but has come off the bench and scored three goals to help Wrexham secure back to back wins against Boreham Wood and Guiseley.
Talks have continued this week and Keates hopes 11-goal leading scorer Rooney agrees terms so he can be considered for a starting role and signed-up for next season.
“We chatted again yesterday so all being well we can get something sorted,” said Keates.
“The ball is in John’s court now but his attitude has been spot on, he trains well and he has applied himself right.
“Obviously there are circumstances why he is not in the team. If we can come to some sort of agreement he can be available from minute one and then I have got decisions to make.
“I want all players available from the first minute. As it stands at the minute, the option is just not available for him to be available from the first minute.
“That is something I have to consider in every game but all being well we can get something sorted.”
Rooney, who joined Wrexham from arch rivals Chester last summer, has impressed Keates who wants him on board for the 2017-18 campaign.
“This season is not a problem, it is getting something in place for next season,” said Keates.
“I have said to the lad I want him to stay, I want him to be part of it going forward but it needs to be agreeable for both parties. At the minute we have not agreed.”
Every single player in the Wrexham squad has a clause in their contract that will earn them new deals if they start a certain amount of games this season.
Vice-captain Mark Carrington signed a new contract after reaching 29 starts and Paul Rutherford has also come to an agreement with Keates so he can continue playing.
Centre-back Curtis Tilt is another player on the verge of triggering his contract extension and Keates reflected on the position he is in.
“We will see what happens with Tilty,” said Keates.
“I knew what I was coming into, I knew about it straight away. We lost games so you need to get what you feel are your best players out there and the most consistent players who are playing well, they played.
“I knew it was going to be a bridge I would have to cross eventually so I got as close to it as I needed to for us to get results and positive performances and points on the board which we have. Now there are bridges and we have got to cross them.”
Keates is confident midfielder Russell Penn, who has made a big impact since joining Wrexham from Carlisle United last month, is passed fit for Saturday’s clash at Dover after missing the win over Guiseley.
“I imagine Russell will be fit and give us an option at Dover,” added Keates. “He was touch and go on Saturday but with Mitchell Lund coming in, it freed up Carrington to move into midfield so it was not a problem.
“Russell is a good player, he has come in and made a difference on the pitch and in the changing room.
“He was missed but we didn’t miss him as much as I thought we would because Carra did so well in there.”
See full story in the Leader