DEAN KEATES has returned to Wrexham for a second spell as manager.

The 41-year-old, who was previously in charge of the Reds from October 2016 to March 2018 when he left to take charge of home-town club Walsall, has signed a contract with the club until the summer of 2021 and starts his new role with immediate effect.

The club's board of directors were looking to appoint a new manager after Bryan Hughes was sacked on September 25 following the poor start to the season, with Wrexham in the relegation zone after 12 games.

Keates, a former Wrexham captain who lifted the FA Trophy in 2013 during his five year stint as a player at The Racecourse, left Walsall in April and was an early favourite to succeed Hughes.

The recruitment process was headed up by former manager and player, now club president, Dixie McNeil, on behalf of the Wrexham Supporters Trust, with Connah's Quay Nomads chief Andy Morrison and ex-Aldershot boss Gary Waddock also linked with the position.

On Keates' appointment, McNeil said: “We talked to a number of people about the position, which we narrowed down to and then interviewed five people.

"Dean gave a very good interview and we decided he was by far the best person for the job.

“I wish Dean all the very best of luck for the rest of the season. It’s really nice that he wanted to come back to the club and I hope that the Wrexham supporters will get behind Dean.

“Together we can turn this season around and I believe Dean can push us up the league table; although we are behind the play-off places at the moment, there are still over 90 points to play for.”

Keates takes charge with Wrexham only outside the drop zone on goal difference following Saturday's 1-1 draw at Woking.