Meet the Manager: News From Thursday Evening's Event

Walsall manager Dean Keates returned to Banks's Stadium as he met with Saddlers supporters to take part in the club's latest 'Meet the Manager' event.
On Thursday evening recently appointed Walsall manager Dean Keates returned to Banks's Stadium as he met with Saddlers supporters to take part in the club's latest 'Meet the Manager' event. Here is a brief rundown of the evening.

Keates, who returned to the club after agreeing terms on a multi-year deal which included a compensation package for his former club Wrexham, will take charge of his second Saddlers game this weekend as the first-team play host to Portsmouth.

The night began with Dean answering a question about what inspired him to become a manager, he would go on to admit that it was a natural progression from playing. He would thank former club Wrexham for giving him his big break into the management side of the game.

The clubs philosophy was discussed, but Dean insisted that the most important thing was to ensure the club secured its place in League One, by any means necessary.

Someone queried, aside from a lengthy playing career which saw him make appearances at many levels, what qualifies him to be a manager. Dean revealed that he has already secured his UEFA C and B licences and is currently studying for his A licence.

Dean admitted that the current Saddlers squad is very young and lacks leadership, something that was clear during the recent defeat to Wigan Athletic as they conceded three goals in quick succession, failing to take a breath and calm down.

He insisted that all of the players will have an opportunity to impress him, but admitted that if those on two-year deals don't live up to his expectations he could sit down with them and consider sanctioning an early exit.

Keates revealed that Wrexham tried hard to retain his services and even sought to offer him a new deal in a bid to fend off the Saddlers. But even after taking emotion out of the move, once he spoke to the board he knew he wanted to return to his boyhood club.

Along with admitting that he looked at signing on-loan West Bromwich Albion defender Jack Fitzwater when he was with Wrexham, the manager also revealed that he has a few non-league players on his radar.

The manager insisted that any players who consistently fail to perform will not have a future with the club, and also insisted that players should be ready for the first-team aged 18 not 21 and by the time a player is 23 he should be nearing 200 club appearances.

The manager revealed that he hopes to sign players swiftly in the summer but also admitted that sometimes you have to play the long game in order to land your preferred targets.

He is also keen to make changes to the club's Essington Training Ground and revealed that the board have already sanctioned a couple of changes.

Dean believes that his biggest attribute is honesty. Something he hopes people saw during his playing days. He thought that his Wrexham side was an extension of him. Hopefully the Saddlers will grow to be like that too!

The manager wants to progress in the FA Cup, admitting - like all fans - that he wants to take the club to Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium. The Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy aren't quite so important and will be assessed based in the club's league position.

Dean expressed his desire to establish a scouting system, and agrees that the club simply cannot progress without one.
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