Dean Keates leaves Wrexham for Walsallby Jack Kitson / 16 March 2018, 17:16Tweet
Dean Keates has returned home to former club Walsall after replacing Jon Whitney at the helm of the League One club.
In the process Keates has left his post at Wrexham, with whom he leaves 4th in the National League, one point off Tranmere (3rd), with nine games to go.
Keates, born in Beechdale back in 1978, made his professional debut for Walsall in 1996, and stayed with the Bescot club through to 2002, before returning for a second spell between 2010 to 2015.
The 39-year-old former midfielder won two promotions as a Saddlers player, but his immediate task as manager will be propelling the club clear of the relegation zone.
At the moment 15th-placed Walsall have a six-point cushion above the bottom four, but it’s worth noting that they’ve played one/two more games than the teams below them. Keates will be well aware that a sluggish start to his tenure would subsequently drag his new side into a relegation scrap.
Meanwhile, the third-tier play-offs are likely to be too far out of reach, with Walsall nine places and 12 points out of reach with nine matches remaining.
Keates spent 15 months in charge of Wrexham - his first job in management - who finished 13th last season. The club are currently in the mix for promotion into the Football League with last weekend’s 2-0 win against local rivals Chester moving the Welsh side up to 4th to within eight points of leaders Macclesfield Town.
However, the Red Dragons will now have to continue their promotion push without Keates, whose jumped up two divisions to join the Walsall, who sacked Whitney on Monday following a run of four defeats in five.