DEAN KEATES insists Johnny Hunt will not be returning to Wrexham in the summer.
A product of the club’s youth programme, left-back Hunt made his senior debut in April 2010 and helped Wrexham reach the play-offs three years in a row.
Hunt will be best remembered as the player who converted the decisive penalty as the Reds beat Grimsby Town on a shoot-out in the 2013 FA Trophy final at Wembley.
After finishing the 2013-14 season as leading scorer, utility player Hunt joined Cambridge United before returning to Wrexham on loan, and he joined Chester in the summer of 2015 after his contract with the U’s was terminated by mutual consent.
Although Hunt is expected to be part of Chester manager Jon McCarthy’s plans for the future, he has been linked with a move back to The Racecourse but Keates says he will not be signing the 26-year-old.
“I am good friends with Johnny and I know him really well,” said Keates. “He did a great job here, I speak to Johnny but he won’t be joining us.
“We played together for a few years and he is a great lad. He did really well for the football club and went on to pastures new.
“He is someone whose career I keep an eye on but it is more as friends. Chester is only down the road but he is not a name that will be joining this football club.”
Keates will ring the changes in the summer following a disappointing campaign and his new-look squad will embark on a pre-season trip to Portugal.
Wrexham will fly to Vilamoura, on the Algarve, on Sunday July 9 and return on Wednesday July 12.
This trip is due to Wrexham AFC's links with kit suppliers Macron and other club sponsors, and Keates gave the low-down on the four day break.
“Portugal was mentioned and Macron have got contacts out there,” said Keates. “They are looking at getting us a game out there and a training facility which will be absolutely fine. The flights fit in perfect for us. It is from Manchester and do not affect us either side of the day that we fly.
“We will play the Friday evening over here and the lads will have the Saturday off to spend with their families, and then we will fly out on the Sunday and get a training session in when we get there.
“We will train three times on the Monday, train once on the Tuesday morning and play the game on the Tuesday night, and probably have a bit of down-time to themselves on the Wednesday.”
Wrexham’s opponents have not yet been revealed but the Reds could end up facing a team from England.
“Macron will get us someone out there but one or two English teams are also out there that we have had put to us so if we can’t sort out a Portuguese team, there might be the possibility of taking on one of the English options.”
Wrexham were due to travel to Italy in pre-season and Keates revealed why there was a change in plan.
“Macron’s main base is in Bologna. We went out there the other other month with a view to getting it all sorted to go there,” said Keates.
“The problem is the flight situation with Manchester. We couldn’t get the right flights that would fit in with the time so it was a case of heading down to Stanstead.
“Their flights are at the crack of dawn and it would have cost us on the hotel and the coach to get down there.
“Training wise would have been fine and we would have got a game but we would have lost a day before the trip and potentially a day after so I would have ended up losing two days of training so it wasn’t viable.”
Keates believes a pre-season trip will be excellent preparation ahead of Wrexham’s 10th campaign in non-league.
“It brings the cohesion of the team being together,” added Keates.
“Obviously there are going to be new bodies coming into the building and getting away will give them a chance to bond.”
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