Dean Keates deal sends 'positive Wrexham message'

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Dean Keates delight at new Wrexham deal

Wrexham chief executive Don Bircham believes the could persuade other key players to stay with the club.

Captain Keates, 34, is the seventh out-of-contract squad member to accept an offer to stay at the club.

The Welsh club are now hopeful the influential trio of Martin Riley, Johnny Hunt and Joe Clarke will follow Keates' example and stay.

"It's a great sign, I think that message will get across," Bircham said.

"Dean is a very positive character and I think one or two others will pick that up, particularly the young lads.

"So I'm confident that we'll see one or two who may have been thinking the grass is greener on the other side, coming back to join the football club.

"I'm absolutely delighted, Dean is a leader on and off the pitch, he's our captain, he's influential, he's very much part of our plans.

"Even though he's 35 [in June], he played virtually every game last season so he's fit."

Keates had been offered a two-year deal at a rival unnamed club but eventually decided to stay with the side that he led with distinction last season.

Wrexham against Newport County, their third successive play-off defeat, and have seen

But Bircham was bullish about Wrexham's chances of promotion from the Conference Premier next season, saying that player-manager Andy Morrell would have the funds to maintain a strong squad.

"We took a wee bit of time to reflect after the final... we have a very competitive budget," Bircham added.

"We'll be competing at the highest level again and we'll go for it again, we need to be back in the Football League."