DEAN KEATES knows just how important a cup run is for Wrexham Football Club.
The Reds have pulled off some memorable upsets over the years but the famous Welsh giant-killers have lost at the first hurdle to lower division opponents Stamford and Gainsborough Trinity the last two seasons.
Keates takes his side to National League rivals AFC Fylde for Saturday’s fourth qualifying round tie and he doesn’t need reminding that progressing in the FA Cup could bring in some extra revenue into the club.
“The FA Cup holds special memories for the football club,” said Keates.
“We want to win football matches and it is extra revenue for us to get into the football club.
“The club has got history of doing well in the FA Cup over the years so all being well it is a bit more publicity for the club and extra revenue coming in.”
Keates’ first game in temporary charge of Wrexham 12 months ago was the 1-1 draw against Stamford who went on to win the replay 3-2 at The Racecourse.
There has been a big improvement since then on the pitch and Saturday’s 2-1 win over Eastleigh extended the unbeaten run to 10 games, leaving fifth placed Wrexham three points off top spot, but the focus on Saturday is trying to reach the first round of the cup.
“We are 10 games unbeaten,” said Keates. “It is a break from the league, but it was massive that we got the win at the weekend to go into this little break.
“Now we will look forward to the FA Cup and all being well we can get through.”
Keates, operating with a smaller squad this season, is understandably taking the game seriously.
“We have only got 18 players and as I said at the start of the season, any of those 18 players can go out and play,” said Keates.
“Whatever team goes out at the weekend, I am confident in them and all being well they can go and win a football match.”
Keates is without on-loan striker Alex Reid who has not been given permission by parent club Fleetwood Town to feature in the cup.
However, the League One club have allowed midfielder Akil Wright to play and frontman Ntumba Massanka, on loan from Burnley, has also been given the green light.
“Akil and Ntumba are okay to play but Fleetwood didn’t give permission for Alex to be involved so there will be a space available,” said Keates.
“It is their choice. You are tied to what the parent club want and they have not given the availability for Alex.”
Goalkeeper Luke Coddington has returned to Northampton Town after his loan spell came to an end.
Wrexham did not lose in the five games that Coddington, who also impressed during a temporary spell at The Racecourse last term while with Huddersfield Town, lined up between the posts.
“It was an easy decision for me to get Luke in when I knew he wasn’t playing,” said Keates.
“We had Callum Preston who did well against Hartlepool but with the fact Chris and Christian were going to be a few more weeks, we needed someone else.
“I spoke with Luke and he said he wanted to come and play. He is a great lad and a great goalkeeper first and foremost.
“Like the first time he came in last season, yet again he was exceptional for us.”
Coddington was brought in after Chris Dunn and Christian Dibble picked up injuries.
But Dunn has been on the substitutes bench for the last two games and Dibble is also set to return to training.
“It was only ever going to be for one month with Luke,” said Keates. “Chris has been back for the last 10 days training and we have had the all clear for Christian to join back in so we have got them now.”
Preston, brought in on non-contract terms, started the goalless draw against Hartlepool United on September 12 before Coddington’s arrival and is still with Wrexham for the time being.
“Callum is sill about and training,” added Keates. “We said we will help him as much as we can, we are grateful for the clean sheet he kept against Hartlepool.
“There are one or two places he has gone out on trial to have a look at him but he has progressed every training session and looks sharper, considering he wasn’t playing for a few weeks or training.
“He lives not far from here so we said if he still wants to come in and train and keep himself sharp, it is an option for him.”
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