DEAN KEATES is hoping that any gamesmanship from Sutton United at The Racecourse on Saturday is dealt with by the referee.
There were eight minutes of added time in Wrexham’s last home game against Guiseley whose timewasting came back to haunt them as the Reds bagged a late equaliser through Sam Wedgbury.
Leaders Sutton could also try to frustrate Wrexham and Keates wants his side to be on the frontfoot from the start.
“You have to manage the game going away from home,” said Keates, pictured below. “They will look at coming here and trying to frustrate us as teams do so it is on us to try and play on the front foot.
“All being well the referee can take command of the game and any gamesmanship is limited.
“You can’t always make the goalkeeper run to get a goal-kick or a player run to take a throw-in, but the gamesmanship we were on the end of against Guiseley, that is the kind of thing that needs stamping on.”
Keates knows Sutton’s approach could change if Wrexham score an early goal, something the Reds were unable to produce against Guiseley.
“We should have had a penalty while Chris Holroyd missed James Jennings’ cross at the near post and it just eludes Scott Boden at the back,” said Keates.
“If that goes in it is a totally different game plan from them. The longer they have got something to hold onto, defend and hang into the game for set-pieces, that is how teams operate.”
Keates has identified where Sutton’s threat lies and says Wrexham will have to deal with a lot of balls put into the area from set-pieces.
“Sutton have recruited well and taken in some good, ex pros,” said Keates.
“They will be strong and organised, they have got long throws both sides of the pitch and they get set-pieces in there.
“If you look at their goals on Saturday, everything is put in the 18-year box and they make you defend so it is going to be a test for us.
“We are expecting a lot of balls being put into the box.”
Sutton took over at the top on Saturday after beating Barrow 3-2.
The lead has changed on a weekly basis in the National League with teams taking points off each other, and Sutton manager Paul Doswell joked that the U’s were therefore bound to lose at Wrexham.
Keates knows the remark was tongue in cheek but he is expecting a tough test.
“All being well it will be a decent turn-out,” said Keates. “It is a big game for us, we are at home and they are top of the league.
“I think it was a little bit of a tongue in cheek comment from their manager but it is going to be a tough game.
“They are the ones that I highlighted as dark horses for this season, they seem to have invested a bit of the FA Cup money and he has recruited really well.
“They are a big, strong, organised team and it is going to be a massive test for us, but something we will look forward to.”
Keates revealed that one of two trialists who was training with Wrexham last week has returned to his club, but continues to be monitored.
“One has gone back,” said Keates. “He has a job so he can’t miss time from work all the time.
“It is something we will keep an eye on and it is someone we watched the other night.”