DEAN KEATES comes up against a man who was heavily linked with his job and he admits Wrexham need three points from their "big game" at home to fellow strugglers AFC Fylde tonight.

Keates was appointed manager for a second term in October with Jim Bentley among the names also vying for The Racecourse hotseat.

Bentley subsequently left Morecambe to take charge of Fylde who are embroiled in a relegation battle along with the Reds after both clubs made poor starts to the National League season.

"It has no bearing," Keates said about Bentley being in the frame to become Bryan Hughes' successor.

"Jim worked miracles for Morecambe over the years and he will rightly go down as a legend there.

"He has got a new challenge, a new chapter in his career and he will do his best for that club as he did for Morecambe.

"It will be a difficult game for us."

Wrexham go into the clash on the back of a 3-3 draw against Yeovil.

It came three weeks after the last league game - a 1-0 win over then-leaders Bromley - due to cup commitments and leaves fourth from bottom Wrexham two points adrift of safety.

Fylde are four points ahead of Wrexham in 19th position and Keates knows the importance of beating one of the Reds' fellow strugglers.

"It was a long time in between games but that is four points against teams up there chasing," said Keates.

"We know what we are as a football club and where the fans want to be so let's not try to cover anything up.

"We know we need to turn things around and we are in the process of doing that.

"If we can pick up maximum points against Fylde, seven points is not too bad a return out of a possible nine.

"It is massive for us. They had a good result at the weekend so they gained another two points on us.

"We have got to reel them back in so it is a big game for us."

Wrexham twice came from behind to level and then took a 3-2 lead but Yeovil equalised, with Keates pleased with the character shown by his players but unhappy to concede after going ahead.

"To go down so early on, we showed the right kind of character and resilience that is needed," said Keates.

"That is going to needed in abundance for the rest of the season given the predicament we are in.

"That is the positive, the disappointing thing was getting our noses in front and not holding out. The third goal is a poor goal."

JJ Hooper is closing in on a return after missing the last six games with an ankle injury and Keates feels the striker needs to make himself available for selection very soon.

"JJ is not too far away," added Keates.

"It is getting to a point now where the player needs to realise he is never going to be 100 per cent when he goes out there.

"There is always going to be a little bit of pain and discomfort; that is not whether he is suffering one injury, that is part and parcel of being a football player.

"Now he has got to get to the point where he can start contributing to the football club on the pitch.