WREXHAM have hit rock bottom but Dean Keates insists he is still the man to pull the Reds clear of trouble and stave off the threat of relegation.

Saturday's 2-1 defeat against fellow strugglers Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road proved to be a massive low as Wrexham dropped to the bottom of the National League - the lowest position in the club's history.

Now at the halfway point in Wrexham's 12th season in non-league, the Reds are five points adrift of safety and in real danger of being relegated to the sixth tier if results don't improve.

Since returning to The Racecourse for a second spell as manager in October, Keates has only registered one win in eight league games but the former Reds' captain insists he can turn things around.

"It is nowhere near good enough," said Keates. "This football club should not be anywhere near where it is.

"The fans are unbelievable, the football club is in a better place off the field that it has ever been and it needs to go forward.

"I am in charge of it, I am the focal point of it and I will make sure it is going forward.

"We can't get any lower in the league and it needs addressing.

"That is everybody; we can't fraction, we can't pull away from each other.

"We have to make sure we stay united and we get the football club in the right direction going forward."

Keates conceded the buck stops with him and that there needs to be a big improvement in the second half of the season, with Wrexham taking just 20 points from the opening 23 games.

"There is no papering over cracks and I ain't going to try and cover things up," said Keates.

"The expectation of this football club is to be challenging and to be sat bottom of the league is nowhere near good enough.

"It needs addressing and it will be addressed. I am accountable for it now I am in charge.

"Me and my staff will make sure whoever goes out there from now on will do everything for this football club to get three points.

"Our first step is to get off the bottom of the league and then we will be looking to get out of the bottom four."

When asked whether he thought the task facing him would be this big when he returned to the club, Keates added: "No if I am honest, I didn't."

But while Keates takes full responsibility, he says his under-performing players need to step up the plate in the battle to avoid relegation to National League North.

"There is no point saying you have got quality on paper, when they cross that white line they have got to go and do it, that is their part of the deal," said Keates.

"They are accountable for that and they need to start stepping up now.

"We can give them tactics, highlight how opposition play, what their strengths and weaknesses are, but I can't fully effect their decision in that split second out there.

"That is when you have to rely on your players and they need to make that better decision."

Keates took a backhanded swipe at previous manager Bryan Hughes, and his summer recruitment, with some players set to leave the club to make room for new signings.

"The board has made finances available," said Keates. "From day one, I must say it has been an impressive budget.

"The way it has been invested and how it has been invested, it is what it is.

"I will deal with it now.

"The evolution of a football club to go forward, players need to be playing football and if they are not paying here, they need that opportunity to go and play somewhere else.

"If other teams come in for players, I have got decisions to make.

"I can add but I don't want too many bodies. You need a small, tight-knit group and as it stands at the moment I have probably got too many bodies."