After earning legendary status at Walsall as a player, Dean Keates is now hoping to make a “big impression” as a manager.
The 39-year-old was confirmed as the Saddlers’ new boss yesterday after signing a deal that will keep him at the Banks’s Stadium until at least the summer of 2021.
The former Wrexham chief made over 250 appearances during two spells with the Saddlers, winning three promotions and being named Player of the Season in 2006/07.
Now Keates wants to prove himself in the dugout and says fans can expect a team that will “give everything” for their club.
“On the playing side, I’ve achieved what I’ve achieved and that chapter is closed,” said the boss.
“I’ve made the transition from a player to a coach and I’ll be judged on my managerial career now and not what I’ve done in the past.
“We’ll settle things down and look to get a few more points on the board, get through this season and start to make a big impression at this football club.
“I can’t promise the fans that it’ll be this, that and everything.
“The only thing I can guarantee is that the team will go out there and represent the fans and give everything for this football club.”
Keates left Wrexham fourth in the National League, unbeaten in 13 matches.
The Welsh club have only lost six of 37 league games this season, conceding a league-low 28 goals and keeping a club-record 20 clean sheets.
The former Hull and Peterborough midfielder will be hoping to enjoy similar success with the Saddlers but is expecting a different style of football in League One.
“I’ve come from a league where the standard of football is very different to this level,” said Keates.
“One week in the National League you’ll play against a team who go man for man all over the pitch.
“I don’t envisage that happening in League One - there’ll be a lot more football played.
“The team I built at Wrexham – it was a good honest team that worked hard.
“They played when they knew they could play, and when the game had to be mixed, they mixed it.”