DEAN KEATES has played down speculation linking him with the vacant manager's job at Walsall and insists he is more than happy at Wrexham.

The League One club have sacked boss Jon Whitney after two years in charge following a run of four defeats in the last five games which leaves the 14th placed Saddlers six points above the relegation zone.

The 39-year-old Keates began his career at hometown club Walsall where he won promotion three times during two spells, and is second favourite with some bookmakers to succeed Whitney.

Keates' reputation is blossoming after turning Wrexham into promotion contenders.

After taking charge in October 2016 following the dismissal of Gary Mills, Keates signed a new three-and-a-half year contract last February and guided Wrexham to a mid-table finish last term.

Sunday's 2-0 cross border derby victory against Chester leaves Wrexham fourth in the National League, and he is focussed on the job in hand.

"I was asked to help out here, got myself am opportunity and got to an interview, came across correctly in the interview and got myself a job for a year-and-a-half," said Keates.

"Then that got ripped up and the club showed faith in me to build a long term project together.

"My job is at Wrexham Football Club and that is all I am concerned about.

"People are going to linked here, there and everywhere. I don't get my eye taken off anything and my job is here until I am told anything different, be that good results, indifferent results or whatever.

"There is nothing in it from my side whatsoever. I have got a job here and I am more than happy here."

Keates insists the fact he has been touted as a possible replacement for Whitney is not just down to him but the back-room staff and players at The Racecourse.

"It is not just testament to myself, it is Andy, Carl, Michael, Phil and Nick," said Keates.

"I have got great staff behind me. It is collective and the lads are performing on the pitch.

"We give them ideas, we train them Monday to Friday, and the lads go out there."

Although he understands why he has been linked with the job at Walsall, Keates is enjoying his role at Wrexham.

"Unfortunately somebody has lost their job," added Keates. "The fact I have played there and I am from there, there was always going to be the possibility of a link.

"I am a hometown lad, came through the ranks, broke into the first team and achieved three promotions there.

"It is the club I support. I stood on the terraces as a kid and I was fortunate enough to live many fans' dreams by representing my hometown club.

"But that chapter is closed and my playing career has gone, they are fond memories and I am still a fan.

"It is still the first result I look at after looking at the National League results. It is a special club to me but I have got a job at Wrexham Football Club and I am enjoying it.

"It has its moments and there was a very good feeling after the weekend but now it is just a case of getting ready for Woking."