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Wrexham AFC: Dean Keates switches transfer focus to attacking options

Published date: 09 June 2017 |
Published by: Richard Williams
Read more articles by Richard Williams


Dean Keates 

DEAN KEATES  is delighted with how the defence is shaping up and is now focused on adding more firepower to his Wrexham squad.

Keates has made eight new signings this summer, with goalkeeper Christian Dibble, defenders James Hurst, James Jennings, Shaun Pearson and Manny Smith, midfielder Sam Wedgbury, winger Jack Mackreth and striker Chris Holroyd arriving at The Racecourse.

Five players – Chris Dunn, Mark Carrington, Paul Rutherford, Leo Smith and first year pro Olly Marx – remain from last year’s squad, meaning Holroyd is the only recognised striker that Keates can call-upon.

With lots of defensive options and two goalkeepers signed on, it is bringing in more bodies to challenge for places at the other end of the pitch that is Keates’ priority.

“We have got a spine and we have got a structure around the back area,” said Keates.

“The attention now is looking more at the attack and trying to get the players that we have highlighted.

“Obviously we have got Chris Holroyd sorted and we got Jack Mackreth in the other day but there are other options that we have put out to players.

“We have got a bid on the table for somebody and all being well it happens.”

Finding prolific frontmen is key ahead of a 10th campaign in non-league.

Wrexham were the second lowest scorers in the division last season behind bottom of the table North Ferriby United with midfielder John Rooney, who left the club for Guiseley in February, their top scorer with 11 goals.

“You can go and buy somebody who has already scored 25 goals last season but you can’t be guaranteed that return,” added Keates, who is also likely to strengthen his midfield.

He is waiting to hear if four targets will accept contract offers to move to The Racecourse.

“We are only going to go with about 18 or 19 players,” said Keates. 

“There are still players to be added to it and there are four offers that we have got out so we will see what comes back from them. We are just waiting for answers from players.”

Manny Smith, who has returned to Wrexham for a second spell, and Pearson are set to be Keates’ first choice centre-back pairing.

But Keates says teenager Marx, who made seven starts towards the end of last season while still a scholar, also has a lot to offer.

“We have got three great defenders in my eyes,” said Keates.

“We have got Manny and Shaun who are experienced and a good age, and we have got young Olly.

“Olly is more than capable of playing week in, week out.”

Keates isn’t short of experience between the posts and in his defence, something he has welcomed.

“You look across the back-line, you have got Olly at 18 and young Christian, and Chris Dunn who is experienced,” said Keates.

“In the back-line, they are all in their mid-20s, just over 25, they are all experienced at this level and the majority have won promotion at this level, so all being well they can add something to us next season.”

Left-back Jennings, who made 15 starts after arriving on loan in January, made the move permanent following his release by Cheltenham Town.

Keates revealed he has missed out on a right-back so Carrington and Hurst are the current contenders to fill that role.

“We tried to get a right-back in and got turned down with a bid but we move on,” added Keates.

“I have got two players who can cover that position in Hursty and Carra. It is a situation we will look at through pre-season.”

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