DEAN KEATES has defended his decision to play Bobby Grant as Wrexham's central striker but the Reds boss could have two frontmen available against Eastleigh tonight.

Favouring a 4-3-3 system in recent weeks, Grant has been used down the middle in the absence of JJ Hooper and Jason Oswell, with Keates commending his leading scorer for playing out of position.

But Keates revealed injured duo JJ Hooper (ankle) and Jason Oswell (stomach) are closing in on a return and could be available at The Silverlake Stadium when Wrexham continue their battle against relegation from the National League.

"We haven't got an out and out striker," said Keates. "Bobby is doing a brave job up front, he is competing for everything for us.

"I am constantly looking to see what is about to see if we can find something up there.

"What I feel we need isn't currently available so it is whether I have to look at something else and completely tweak the whole formation and change shape.

"JJ is not too far away, he has got to get to a point now where he can feel he can deal with the pain.

"We have had x-rays and scans, and the conclusive thing is there is nothing in there.

"He joined in training with the lads on Friday and we will push him this week.

"Jason has had a problem with a muscle with his stomach but I expect him to be in full contention now.

"He trained with us on Friday and I have got decisions to make."

Saturday's 2-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Ebbsfleet United saw Wrexham drop to the bottom of the table - the club's lowest ever league position - and they are five points adrift of safety.

Keates added: "I wouldn't say the formation is not currently working for us.

"We have had decent performances and decent phases of play but in both boxes we have not been ruthless enough so it does not matter what shape you are playing.

"Injured players need to start getting themselves back fit and pushing themselves, and players who get the top have to start giving everything for the football club and make sure we address the situation we are in, and the football club starts going forward."

The clash at Eastleigh is Wrexham's game in hand on some of their fellow strugglers and Keates knows his side need three points.

"It is massive," said Keates. "We have got to go and win there.

"We needed three points on Saturday but we've not got it and it would have been disappointing to come away with one point.

"We can't dominate as much as we did and we have to be better in each box."

Keates had a message for supporters after defeat to Ebbsfleet saw Wrexham slip to the foot of the table.

"I feel their pain," added Keates.

"It is frustrating and the fans who travelled down in numbers once again to support us, I thank them.

"We will make sure they start getting the results that we need to get this football club going again."