DEAN KEATES wants to give Wrexham supporters a team they can be proud of after saluting their efforts during a rotten 2019/20 campaign.

The Reds had to battle against the ever increasing threat of relegation to the National League North for most of the season, the club slumping to the foot of the table at the midway stage.

That’s as low as Wrexham Football Club has ever been in the standings and the fact the club were forced to issue a statement apologising for what was happening on the pitch spoke volumes of the predicament the Reds found themselves in.

A run of seven wins in the 14 games before the season was ended abruptly due to the coronavirus crisis made sure Wrexham dragged themselves out of the drop zone by a single point.

Regardless of what was served up on the pitch, the stands remained filled with fans, Wrexham’s average attendance of 4,057 behind only promotion chasing duo Notts County - where the Reds took 1,600 to Meadow Lane - and Stockport County in non-league football.

“The love and desire the fans have for this club has never been questioned,” said Keates. “For the club to average of 4,000 fans in a season that has been a massive disappointment speaks volumes.

“They follow the team everywhere we go, whether that’s up to Harrogate or down to the likes of Bromley, we get fantastic support home and away.

“The unity between those out on the pitch and the people in the stand is important for the club going forward.

“We need to make sure we aren’t languishing in the table again.”

Keates appointment as successor to Bryan Hughes was not a universally popular one given the former Wrexham captain had departed for hometown club Walsall just over 18 months earlier leaving the Reds promotion bid in tatters.

Asked whether his work in keeping Wrexham in the division had won over some of the doubters, Keates said: “It’s always up in the air. People were disheartened when I left - I think it’s just over two years since I did - and it’s important that we can stabilise the club again.

“This is a time to step back and reflect on what’s happened and look to the future and trying to get the football club in a better position.”

It’s just over seven years to the day that Wrexham came closest to returning to the Football League as they lost an all-Welsh play-off final 2-0 against Newport County.

“It was one of those games where we had chances, but couldn’t take them and they got themselves in-front,” recalled Keates, who was substituted 10 minutes from time with the game goalless.

“We then pushed to try and get an equaliser and they caught us on the break to get a second goal.

“It was unfortunate and we’ve been close to promotion before, but we’ve just not been able to finish the job.

“My job is to make sure we are as competitive as we can be and that we’ve got a team ready to go out and represent this football club and give the supporters something to be proud of and something to cheer.”