Chris Dunn and Russell Penn set to stay at Wrexham AFC


Richard Williams

DEAN KEATES is confident Chris Dunn and Russell Penn will commit their futures to Wrexham.

The duo were the only two out of contract players offered new deals by Keates and have confirmed they want to put pen to paper.

Former Northampton Town, Yeovil and Cambridge United stopper Dunn is also the club’s goalkeeper coach while vastly experienced midfielder Penn helped Wrexham pull clear of trouble after joining from Carlisle  in January.

“They are both more or less done,” said Keates. “It is just a case of ironing one or two things out but all being well, we will get them over the line.

“From the conversations I have had with them they will be staying, everything is more or less agreed. I will learn more today.”

Keates is revamping his squad after Wrexham finished 13th in the National League.

Only Mark Carrington and Leo Smith are under contract, while Paul Rutherford has agreed a new deal and Keates will hold talks with on-loan Cheltenham Town defender James Jennings about extending his stay at the Racecourse.

Player of the Year, Martin Riley, captain Rob Evans, leading scorer Jordan White, Shwan Jalal, Iffy Allen, Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls, Anthony Barry, Izale McLeod and Callum Powell weren’t offered new deals.

“It was always going to be the case of me sitting down one-on-one with the players, being honest and looking them in the eye,” said Keates. “I spoke with the players and gave them my reasons, shook their hands and wished them all the best.

“It is football and it happens. Ultimately, football clubs don’t change, they stay the same, but players change, they come and go, and managers come and go.

“Decisions that have all been made are for the best of the football club to make us as competitive as we can be for next season.”

Keates favoured a 4-4-2 formation after taking charge in October, operating with a diamond shaped midfield.

Having tinkered with the shape of the side, Keates remains open about which system he will go with at the start of the 2017-18 campaign.

“With the players we are looking at getting in, we have flicked between a few formations so it gives us options on the pitch,” said Keates.

“You need to change if one formation is not working, counteract and go a different way.

“Also, you can always start with a formation, the opposition might be getting on top and you might just need to change a couple of things just to get yourself back into the game.

“I am open minded on that but the squad that we are looking to assemble will have a lot of adaptability to different formations.”

Summing up his spell in the Reds’ hot-seat, Keates, who took over following Gary Mills’ sacking, said: “Since October it has been chaotic!

“I have embraced it and I have learnt a lot of lessons along the way.”

See full story in the Leader

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