WREXHAM boss Dean Keates has emerged as one of the early favourites for the vacant manager's job at Walsall.

The League One club have sacked boss Jon Whitney after two years in charge following a run of four defeats in the last five games which leaves the 14th placed Saddlers six points above the relegation zone.

Keates, who took charge of Wrexham in October 2016 following the dismissal of Gary Mills, has turned things around at The Racecourse.

After finishing mid-table last term, Wrexham have emerged as promotion contenders this season and climbed up to fourth position in the National League following Sunday's cross border derby victory against Chester.

Keates, who signed a new three-and-a-half year contract last February, is second favourite with some bookmakers to succeed Whitney, who first arrived at Walsall as physiotherapist in 2003.

The 39-year-old Keates began his career at hometown club Walsall where he won promotion twice before adding another during a second spell.

Adrian Viveash, another ex-Walsall player who left his role as development squad manager following nine successful years with Chelsea Academy in May, is favourite for the job while Brian Fazackerley, Steve Cotterill, Alan Stubbs and David Unsworth are also linked with the position.

Coach Ian Sharps, the former assistant manager at Chester, has taken temporary charge of first-team affairs.