DEAN KEATES is pleased with the progress made since he took charge of Wrexham but knows there is a lot more to come from his side.
Former Reds’ captain Keates was appointed permanent manager at The Racecourse 12 months ago yesterday after a brief spell as interim boss following the dismissal of Gary Mills.
Wrexham risked being dragged into a relegation battle but the Reds eventually finished 13th in the National League last season before Keates revamped the squad over the summer.
The new arrivals have made a difference this term and although the 11-game unbeaten run in the league came to an end following a 2-0 defeat at AFC Fylde on Tuesday, Wrexham remain third in the table and only three points behind new leaders Dover.
Wrexham, who are in their 10th season in non-league football, are well-placed in the quest for promotion and Keates says his players can live up to the high expectations at the club.
“There’s way more to come,” said Keates, as he looked back at his summer squad rebuilding.
“It has been a complete rip-up, a clean slate. I have brought players in and although one or two have crossed paths at previous clubs, it is a totally different environment.
“You are coming into a football club where there is an expectation and where the players have been at other clubs, I don’t think they have been in a position that they have been in now.
“The expectation builds with the results and you have to adapt to it and deal with it.
“We are one of the biggest clubs in the division, there is an expectation and that is to try and get it back to where we need to be.
“We have done okay so far but there is still a lot further to go and we will keep going.”
Keates, who joined Wrexham as a player in 2010 and helped the Reds reach the play-offs three years in a row and win the FA Trophy before leaving in 2015, is happy how the season is panning out.
“We are sat third in the table and three points off the top,” said Keates. “We have shown a level of consistency. There are one or two draws where we could have done better but we have come a fair distance in that year.
“All being well we can go even further on the pitch.”
While results have improved this season – Wrexham suffered only a fourth defeat in 17 league games at Fylde – Keates is happy with developments off the field over the past year.
“I sat down a year ago and gave my views on which direction I feel the football club needs to go,” said Keates. “I put a blueprint down and the direction we had to build the football club and we have made big strides, a lot bigger than what can be seen, especially off the field.
“For me it is in a good place. We have got our own training ground, we have got our own base and unbelievable support that was shown at Fylde to take nearly 700 fans away from home.
“It has been a complete changeover in infrastructure behind the scenes; everybody has put a lot of hard work into it and all being well that fruition can be shown on the pitch.”
Keates, who won promotion six times as a player at three different clubs, is enjoying his first managerial position.
“It has had its ups and downs and it has been an eyeopener,” added Keates. “Some things happen you don’t expect to happen, then something happens and you think it is falling into place there but then it goes the opposite way.
“Every day is a challenge and I have enjoyed it.”