Victory comes first for Dean

Published date: 21 December 2012 |
Published by: Richard Williams
Read more articles by Richard Williams

Reds skipper Dean Keates 

DEAN KEATES will hit a personal milestone tonight when he makes the 600th appearance of his career against Grimsby Town.

But the Wrexham skipper is more concerned about leaving Blundell Park with three points (7.45pm kick-off).

Third placed Wrexham continue their promotion push against a Grimsby side who sit second in the table, just one point ahead of the Reds who do have a game in hand.

And 34-year-old Keates, who has won promotion six times in his career with three different clubs, is looking for a victory that will aid Wrexham in their quest to return to the Football League.

“It has never been about personal gains,” said Keates, who has has won promotion with Walsall, Hull City and Peterborough United.

“If I go on to make 620 or 630 appearances and we win promotion at the end of the season, I can look back and say that is seven promotions and I can hopefully get another contract and play in the Football League with Wrexham.

“If you said to me you’d made my 600th appearance and Wrexham got back into the league it would be amazing but it is all ifs and buts.

“First things first, the most important thing is we get three points tonight.”

Keates, who has helped Wrexham reach the play-offs in each of the last two seasons since he joined the Reds in the summer of 2010, celebrates his 35th birthday in June but he is not contemplating ending his playing career just yet.

“I think the first aim you get when you come into the game is to do two years as a trainee and then the next step is to hopefully get into the first team,” said Keates.

“I was fortunate enough to make my debut at 18 for Walsall and I never really looked back.

“Your next aim is to play as long as you can. Back then, you say you want to play to 35 but I think a lot of people are dropping out of the game now at 27, 28 or 29 the ways times are.

“I have been fortunate enough to carry on and my 35th birthday is at the end of this season.

“On that side, to play up to 35 which I set out for myself I am quite happy with but I still feel like I have still got a few years left in me to offer.

“I look after myself, the club help me and let me look after myself through the week.
“I do miss the odd day just to have extra recovery.”

Victory for Wrexham, or Grimsby for that matter, would see them take over at the top of the table, with current leaders Newport County facing Braintree Town tomorrow.

Wrexham have a game in hand on both Newport and Grimsby and despite being well placed going into the second half of the season, Keates feels there is a lot more to come from the Reds.

“It is going to be a hard game,” said Keates. “It is there for either of us to go top of the table and put the pressure on Newport for 24 hours.

“We have got a game in hand. Hopefully if we can win at Grimsby and the game in hand comes into effect, we will be tucked in nicely going into the second half of the season.

“It has not gone to plan because we want to be top of the league but we are not far off.

“We have dropped a few points that we felt we shouldn’t be dropping but we don’t feel in the camp we have hit our top form yet so hopefully we can go into the second half of the season, pick that up and hit that form like we were hitting last season.

“We are on the back of a two-game winning streak so hopefully we can continue that.”

Hoping Wrexham can start pulling away at the top, Keates added: “It is a very tight league this season. It is waiting for someone to take it on by the scruff of the neck and grab hold of it.

“Hopefully that can be us in the second half of the season.”


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