DEAN KEATES has defended his starting line-up for Saturday's clash against Eastleigh after being criticised for only playing one striker.

Keates again went with a 3-4-3 formation with Dan Jarvis and Davis Keillor-Dunn operating either side of centre-forward Jordan Ponticelli.

Wrexham lacked a cutting edge in the final third and thought they'd broken the deadlock when Ponticelli headed home Keillor-Dunn's cross but the goal was disallowed for offside and the fellow strugglers drew 0-0.

Supporters have questioned the decision to play one up top but Keates insists that is not the case when Wrexham attacked.

"People see you have only got one up front but when you are breaking in numbers, you have got three up front and you have got your wing-backs high as well," said Keates, who was without injured frontman JJ Hooper and left Jason Oswell on the substitutes bench.

"People possibly look a lot more into tactics sometimes than what it is.

"Roy Keane said it is not tactics that win football matches, it is players and that is something Joey Jones said to me the first time I came into the football club.

"Depending on how you want to look at it, you can say we have got one up top but when we are breaking, we have got three up top.

"If we had scored a goal early on it would have been a different game; they would have to come out and open up a little bit more.

"We scored a good goal in the second half but the decision has gone against us."

Keates insists injuries to strikers have had an impact on team selection since returning for a second spell as manager in October, with attacking midfielder Bobby Grant - leading scorer with eight goals but currently on loan at Accrington Stanley - used in attack.

"We have got strikers at the football club but a few have been carrying injuries," said Keates.

"JJ will be back in with the group this week, Jason has been out for a few weeks himself and he only just joined back in with the group before the Yeovil game so we were only really operating with one striker.

"There have been points this season when we have operated with no centre-forwards at the football club because they have been out injured and not available for us.

"I had Bobby up top, he is an attacking midfield player and he did a job for us playing as a number nine; JJ and Jason were injured and Jordan hadn't signed."

Keates fielded a 3-5-2 formation at Chesterfield last month but Hooper picked up a thigh injury in the 3-2 defeat and hasn't been available since then.

On playing two strikers, Keates added: "It worked to a point at Chesterfield but we ended up losing the game.

"We went to Bromley, played a different way and won a football match.

"The three lads linked up on Saturday, moved the ball off each other and were exciting but they are young and there are going to be ups and downs."