Dean Keates Happy to Scour the Lower Leagues in Search of Signings
Walsall boss Dean Keates has spoken to the press and admitted that he is scouring the lower leagues in search of talented players to add to his squad ahead of the 2018/19 League One campaign.
39-year-old Keates, who recently returned to his hometown club following a spell with National League side Wrexham, is keen to add new players to his side following a season which saw the team struggle towards the foot of the League One table.

The manager, who has already added Tranmere Rovers hotshot Andy Cook to his attacking line, insisted that he will not only be signing players from non-League but is keen to sign talented players from whichever division they play in.

Speaking via the Express & Star, Dean said; "I wouldn’t say a lot of my signings will come from non-league but there are options and possibilities to come out of there. What you do get with non-league players is hunger. They want to succeed at the higher level.

"There is a possibility that one or two will be coming from non-league. They have that desire, which for me is really important. They have not come through academies. They want the opportunity to go full-time and do it every single day. They want that tag of being a league footballer."

While many supporters may be weary of signing players from what is perceived to be a lower standard of football, the manager went on to insist that the gap between the EFL and non-league is shrinking and there are plenty of good players waiting to be snapped up, he continued; "The gap between non-league and the Football League is definitely getting smaller - there is no doubt about it. League One was wide open last year and the gap between the conference and League Two is very, very close.

"We are League One but the gap is closing all the time. There are good players out there and it’s been proven over the years. Jamie Vardy is always the one highlighted. But there are other players who have done it. George Boyd went to Peterborough and he has gone on to play Premier League. Marcus Maddison has done well at Peterborough and was up at Gateshead.

"But to pick those players up you need a scouting network in place – which we are working on. It needs people on the ground being active and looking. I want people out there watching players over a number of games. The final decision will then be mine. But I want to be able to watch players knowing that – if the scouts have recommended them - we won’t be fair off. Then it comes down to my decision and assessing if they can make the step up."
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