ANDY MORRELL says sorting out a leaky defence and grinding our "boring" wins is key to Dean Keates reviving Wrexham's fortunes.

Keates has returned to The Racecourse for a second term as manager and takes over with the Reds struggling at the wrong end of the National League.

Notorious for narrow 1-0 wins during Keates' first spell in the hotseat, a solid defence was the platform for Wrexham emerging as promotion contenders until he departed for Walsall in March 2018 and the Reds failed to secure a play-off spot.

However, Wrexham have leaked goals this term and have only kept two clean sheets in the league, with Morrell stressing the need to be hard to break down as crucial in the bid to escape trouble.

"They seem to be conceding more goals that they have done in recent seasons and not scoring as many which has been the problem the last few seasons," said former Wrexham boss Morrell.

"Dean has come back in and I am sure he will be looking at defensively first and foremost to try and stop conceding.

"That is what be does.

"I know it might be a little bit boring or whatever but needs must because Wrexham have got to stop conceding goals and then that gives you a chance of winning games.

"Just be hard to beat. Get in the lead and make it difficult for teams to get level."

Wrexham were among the early leaders but results tailed off and Bryan Hughes was sacked as manager at the end of September, and just one win in 15 league games leaves Wrexham in the relegation zone ahead of this afternoon's home game with high-flying Bromley

Hughes guided Wrexham to a fourth place finish and play-off spot last season but Morrell admits it can be tough mentally for players to go again after falling short.

"The last couple of seasons have been alright and this season actually started okay," said Morrell.

"It has just dropped off the last eight or nine games and they have just not been able to get it back.

"The expectation at this football club is immense and you lose your job off the back of it.

"Bryan would have been working tirelessly to try and turn it around but it just wasn't to be for whatever reason.

"A big turnaround in players in the summer, some would say it is a better squad than they had last year but it has just not quite clicked as much."

Morrell added: "Many teams have fallen short the season after they do so well.

"You get so close and then you have got to go again but it is very tough mentally.

"Changes do help normally, they freshen up the mentality of the group, but it just hasn't happened this season for whatever reason.

"Dean will bring a fresh approach to it, the players will all be trying to impress to get in the team and hopefully they will start to turn it around quickly and move up the league."

Although league form has been woeful, Wrexham have progressed to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Challenge Cup and booked an FA Cup first round home date with Rochdale next Sunday.

Securing safety remains the priority but Morrell feels the FA Cup would provide a welcome respite.

"You look at the league, you are over a third of the season through and you are in the relegation zone. It is massively worrying," said Morrell.

"First and foremost you have to win a couple of games to get yourself more comfortable in the league and out of the bottom four.

"Maybe be the FA Cup will be a bonus this year because it is going to be very tough to get into those play-off places from where they are at the moment.

"League games are your bread and butter and you have keep picking points up so you creep away from the bottom four."