DEAN KEATES insists a need to “freshen up” his Wrexham squad was behind the decision to release 11 players.

Jake Lawlor, Akil Wright, Luke Summerfield, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Jason Oswell, Doug Tharme, Leighton McIntosh, JJ Hooper, Matthew Sargent, Jack Thorn and Dawid Szczepaniak have all been informed that they aren’t part of Keates’ plans moving forward.

And Keates says that the need to revitalise a playing group that sunk to Wrexham’s lowest ever league position during a season battling with the drop, is crucial.

“We have to use this as a turning point,” said Keates, who contacted each and every player individually to inform them of their status at the club.

“It’s a chance to freshen up the squad. The core of the group helped get the team into the play-offs the season before this one, but was the season just gone a season too far?

“I’ve got the spine of a team with a goalkeeper, central defender and central midfielders, so it’s about adding to that now.”

With football in a state of flux due to the coronavirus pandemic, Keates doesn’t yet know what he has to work with in terms of finances for new players.

The fact that club’s throughout the game will be forced to tighten their belts - at least initially - also came into Keates’ thinking when deciding who should stay and who should go.

“The decisions made took a few things into account,” continued Keates, talking less than an hour after Championship outfit Wigan announced that they have gone into administration “I looked at things like consistency of performance and fitness. We need to make sure that the team we put out on the pitch is as competitive as it can be.

“Squads throughout football will be smaller and it’s even more important that players are available to play as often as possible. Everyone gets injuries, but if players are breaking down with soft tissue injuries that will only cause issues.

“One or two players who were let go were unfortunate, but we are looking for fresh impetus and we need to get the recruitment right.”

Of those out of contract at Wrexham this summer, James Jennings, Mark Carrington, Paul Rutherford, Davis Keillor-Dunn and Christian Dibble have been informed that the club would like to open discussions with them once they have certainty on when football will return the club adding that it is “not yet in a position to offer new contracts”.

“We are waiting on the National League on a start date,” explained Keates. “Then we can strip things back and work out when we can look to return to training.

“I’ve had discussions with all of the players and the five players who we want to talk to understand the position we are in.

“They are discussions that will take place in the future, but if, in the meantime, they get offered something else, then that’s something they are entitled to do.

“It’s the position we are in at the moment and there is uncertainty, so as a business we can’t throw contracts out left, right and centre.

“There might be another wave and things get delayed and suddenly as a business anything we’ve done is unsustainable, so we need to safeguard the club in these testing times.”

Kieran Kennedy, Jordan Ponticelli, Jordon Thompson, Kyle Barker and Tyler Garratt have all returned to their parent clubs following the end of loan deals.

In the case of defender Kennedy, the door might not be shut on a potential return to north Wales.

“He’s someone that’s on the list,” added Keates, who has seen striker Oswell complete a move to Telford United a matter of hours after his departure from The Racecourse was confirmed.

Oswell has signed a two-year deal with the National League North outfit.