Wrexham AFC gear up for Italian job in pre-season


Richard Williams

DEAN KEATES is hoping to confirm a pre-season match in Italy – but Wrexham definitely won’t play any friendlies at The Racecourse.

Keates has been in talks with kit suppliers Macron about Wrexham facing an Italian second or third tier side as part of their build-up to the 2017-18 campaign, although the trip has not yet been given the go ahead.

“There is a possibility in the pipeline,” said Keates. “I have kind of heard but is it set in stone yet? I don’t know.

“I have got the dates that it possibly could be to figure into pre-season and what we are looking at doing but I have not been told it is 100 per cent yet.

“It is just a case of waiting to be told if it is a yes or a no.”

Keates revealed that the four day training trip will consist of one friendly.

“It will be three nights, four days, and all being well there will be a game in the middle of it,” said Keates.

“The feedback I got out there in Italy from the Macron reps that we were speaking to, they are not as organised as us.

“We are already looking to get our pre-season sorted, he said it doesn’t happen like that in Italy unless you are in Serie A.

“There were a few names mentioned to us but one thing it won’t be is one of the Serie A teams.

“The time of the year it is and how hot it is, they all go up into the Alps for altitude training so it will possibly be a Serie B or Serie C team.”

But Wrexham will not play a pre-season friendly at home because the Racecourse pitch will be reseeded after holding concerts during the summer.

UB40 (May 26) and Olly Murs (June 24) will be performing but Keates insists the pitch will be ready for the start of the season.

“We don’t get the pitch back until two days after the Olly Murs concert, then it is ripped up again and reseeded,” said Keates.

“But we have got an extra few weeks so all being well we get a dry summer and the pitch will be fine.”

Although Mark Carrington and Leo Smith have signed new deals and Paul Rutherford has activated a contract extension, the rest of the Reds’ squad is out of contract this summer.

Keates says he will wait until the end of the season before discussing new deals with players.

“We get the season out of the way. It is a case of just watching the players and seeing how they play,” said Keates.

“We have got some tests coming up and if they can perform, they will stay in the team and it gives me things to think about for next season.”

Keates is not worried about losing players to other clubs because he has not started contract talks.

“That can happen at any time,” said Keates. “Am I going to be speaking to people myself? Of course I am, so it is going to happen to my own players.

“It happens in football and if players chose to move on, that is their decision and we get on with it as a football club.”

Keates revealed winger Iffy Allen, who signed a contract until the end of the season last week, was not involved in Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat against Gateshead as a precaution.

Allen has been without a club since leaving Aldershot Town in December and Keates said: “We gave him a blast last week.

“He has not played since before Christmas, we put a little bit into him and he felt a little bit fatigued.

“He felt leggy and a bit of tightness. Could he go on for 20 minutes? Possibly he could have but he could possibly get injured so I thought there was no point.

“It has settled down the last few days and he will be joining back in training the next day or two.”

Keates says the onus is on Allen to earn a longer deal.

“He is different to what we have got in the building,” said Keates. 

“He will run at people, he is a winger but he can play as a number 10 and up front.

“He has got pace, can ride challenges and get past people.

“He is on trial. He has not had a club since before Christmas so it is a long time without playing.

“This is an  opportunity for him to sell himself to the football club.”

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