DEAN KEATES accepts he has ‘bridges to build’ after returning to Wrexham as manager.

Keates swapped Wrexham for home-town team Walsall with the Reds well-placed for a National League promotion challenge.

The Reds slipped out of the play-off places and the season ended on a sour note as Keates quit the club.

Keates has been chosen to replace Bryan Hughes, who was dismissed with the Reds languishing at the wrong end of the table, and the club’s former captain knows he has to win over certain sections of the supporter base.

“There are bridges I need to build and I understand that,” said Keates as he was unveiled at a press conference yesterday.

“But first and foremost I need to address what happens on the pitch. If we can get three points it leaves me in better stead going forward.”

Keates, who will take charge of tonight’s National League clash with Harrogate Town, defended his decision to leave Wrexham for Walsall - the club he supported and played for over 200 times.

“The only thing I can say, that if it wasn’t my hometown club, if it was a club of a similar stature, I probably wouldn’t have gone,” said Keates. “The fact that it was my hometown club, I stood on the terraces, I played there numerous times and achieved things, it was very much a choice I made with heart and head over possibly gut feeling.

“And as stated, the first approach I did turn it down.”

Keates, who will be assisted once more by Andy Davies with Brian Flynn departing The Racecourse, was referring to Dixie McNeil’s revelation that the former midfielder said no to Walsall three times before finally making the move.

President McNeil, who was part of the recruitment process said: “We know Dean before and one of the great things he said when he first sat down, and I have to say that I wasn’t akin to this, but he didn’t really walk out on football club the last time he was here.

“He turned down Walsall three times in that period and said he didn’t want to go, but in the end he was probably pestered too much and with it being his home town, I think he found it difficult to say no. He probably learned from the mistake.

“These things happen, but he did a good job when he was here before and we hope he carries that on in the future.”