It's been a good first half says Wrexham AFC manager Dean Keates

Reporter:

Rich Williams

DEAN KEATES believes Wrexham can be happy with what they have achieved in the first half of the season.

Saturday’s home match against Maidenhead United marks the halfway point in the season and Wrexham are second in the National League with the same points and goal difference as leaders Sutton United.

Sutton lead the way because they have scored more than Wrexham, who have netted just 20 goals so far – one better than the league’s lowest goal-getters, Guiseley.

But Keates is pleased with the progress made since he ripped up the squad in the summer as he heads into the busy December programme.

“It is always a busy time,” said Keates. “We don’t have a winter break and it gets busy but we go into it with a fully fit squad.

“All being well nothing happens over the next few weeks and we go into the festive period on the back end of what has been achieved in the first 20-odd games of the season.

“Coming up to the halfway mark, we are probably a little bit further over the line than I expected if I am being honest.

“With 14 or 15 new lads coming together, they have gelled quite well and we have done okay.”

Wrexham’s run of three successive wins, which had taken them to the top of the table for the first time since March 2013, came to an end on Saturday as Aldershot triumphed 2-0 at The Recreation Ground.

It was a thoroughly disappointing performance by the Reds who were second best throughout and undone by two poorly defended goals in the first half but Keates refuses to dwell on the defeat.

“It is going to go in cycles,” said Keates. “We are up at the top and in the mix because we have been consistent.

“We were disappointed at the weekend and looking at the goals we have conceded it is unlike us.

“Aldershot had periods with the ball. We know how they operate and they are a possession-based team.

“But we will learn from it as we learned from the three wins on the bounce and we have to go again.”

Keates is expecting a positive reaction against Maidenhead and added: “A good week training ahead and we will get ready for Maidenhead.

“We are going into a crucial period now coming up to Christmas and the halfway mark.

“We have got a big game at home, we will regroup for it and make sure there is a reaction.”

Keates will not be able to call on striker Alex Reid who has returned to Fleetwood after completing a three month loan spell at The Racecourse.

The Reds boss is still looking to sign another frontman as a replacement for Reid.

“There is a possibility, we will see,” said Keates. “We have made phone calls but everything seems to be out of our hands.

“It is whether teams want to deal with you or whether you can entice players.”

Reid, who scored three goals for Wrexham, partnered leading scorer Chris Holroyd in attack for the last two games so either Scott Boden, yet to open his account for the Reds, or on-loan Burnley striker Ntumba Massanka is expected to start.

“Scott had been unlucky,” added Keates. “A great attitude, he is a great professional and he is working hard.

“I am sure that when he gets his chance, he will be doing his best to take it.

“Ntumba is here until the first week in January and he has done well. He has contributed when we have been on a good run when you look back over the last few months.

“The last two games, he has come on as a substitute and he has made an impact.”

Email:

rich.williams@nwn.co.uk

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