Dean Keates: I'll work tirelessly to take Wrexham AFC back to the top


Richard Williams

Dean Keates can’t guarantee success but insists he will work tirelessly trying to bring back the glory days to Wrexham Football Club.

The 38-year-old, appointed manager in October on an 18 month contract, has been rewarded for transforming the Reds’ fortunes by signing a new three-and-a-half year deal that runs until the end of the 2019-20 season.

Wrexham, skippered by Keates, reached the play-offs three seasons in a row but have failed to finish in the top five of non-league’s top flight since they lost to Newport County in the 2013 final.

A top-five finish might be beyond Wrexham this season but Keates has high hopes for the future.

“I know what the club is about and know the expectations of the football club, be it three-and-a-half years, one-and-a-half years or next season,” said Keates, who won promotion six times as a player with three different clubs.

“I know what the expectation is and I know what my own expectation is, I want to do the best I can next season.

“I can’t guarantee anything this season or next season. The only thing I can guarantee is that I will do the best for the football club and me and my staff will give it absolutely everything to produce a team that is up there challenging.”

Keates, who spent five seasons playing for Wrexham before leaving in 2015, insists it will be a collective effort to revive the club’s fortunes.

“I am grateful they gave me this option at the football club,” said Keates.

“Obviously I am delighted to sign it and be here for the next three and-a-half years. “I have got three years now to get back what this football club wants and all being well that can be league football.

“And not just be in League Two, I want to go forward and I want the football club to go forward.

“All being well I can spearhead it but there are a lot more people working for the football club than just myself.”

Keates added: “We are all singing from the same hymn sheet, we are one football club and we all want to go forward. I am more than happy to have signed a contract for the next three-and-a-half years but it is not just about me.

“A lot of people want the football club to go forward, I am at the point of it so all being well we can all go together.”

Wrexham, who risked being dragged into a relegation battle, initially made steady progress after Keates replaced Gary Mills before the former midfielder reshaped the squad in January and the Reds have climbed up to 10th position following a six game unbeaten run.

Keates believes Wrexham are heading in the direction but admits he was “surprised” to be offered a new deal after only four months at the helm.

“It surprised me when they first mentioned it to me,” said Keates. “I had next season left but sitting down with the board, they want to go forward. We have kind of stumbled the last couple of months, we are on the way back up.

“We have had some decent results on the pitch, the fans are buying into everything and all being well we can rebuild the football club and we can go forward.”

Keates is looking to extend the unbeaten run against seventh placed Aldershot Town at The Racecourse tomorrow and insists a winning mentality is key to success both short term and in the future.

“Everything is about progression and we have done okay the last few weeks, got some decent results and we are on a decent little run,” said Keates.

“But we want to make it another game, we are going into Aldershot and we want to win.

“We are at home. That is the expectation of the football club and that is what the lads need to understand.

“Anybody who is in the building now or that comes into the building for next season, the mentality needs to be right. We want winners at the football club and the football club wants to be winners.”

The Wrexham board has had a hire-and-fire policy with Mills and Kevin Wilkin both paying the price of failure so director Spencer Harris is delighted that Keates has committed to Wrexham.

“It is a real statement of intent of what we want to do at this football club and how Dean is a crucial part of that,” said Harris.

“Dean is working extremely hard with his staff and it has been a fantastic start to his managerial career at Wrexham.

“It is universally seen that Dean is taking us in the right direction."

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