Is Keates Good Enough?


Of course it doesn’t. A formation is secondary to talent. It doesn’t restrict us having a special centre half who actually organises a defence and wins every ball. It doesn’t stop us having a special central midfielder who can win the ball in front of his back four and play superb passes that create chances. It doesn’t stop us having a special winger who can beat a man for fun and then ping balls at a bloke like Cook who can score goals like that for fun. It doesn’t stop us having and even better striker than Cook.

I reckon the budget does though.


It’s obviously not the only reason why we lost the game, but it has to be considered a contributing factor - again not Devlin’s fault, more the selection itself as it just looked like we were taking the negative approach. We were playing at home against a team that’s conceded over 60 goals this season, whilst Devlin is fine as an attacking full-back it’s completely different (and unfair) to ask him to be a major part of our attacking play from the wing.

An obvious comparison is when O’Driscoll tried the same trick with Rico, sticking him at left-wing and even a player with his ability struggled to get into games.


Which would be the complete and final argument if we had a threadbare squad of 13 or 14 first team professionals. But we haven’t, we’ve got over 20! Again, only one conclusion, he’s spent the budget unwisely.


I kind of agree, but let’s not forget two of my personal favourite players from the last few years, Ledesma and Sawyers, were brought in by Smith on a shoestring. Two players, who probably wouldn’t fit into our current formation and style.


That’s not the only way a budget restricts you though to be fair. I see it as a straight choice judging by our signings, over some time now (look at Whitneys squads, he brought some decent quality players in at a time but we never had two players for every position): Quantity or Quality. Keates has made his choice.


Oztumer is one of mine and he wouldn’t.

Then again Ian Roper, Pedro Matias, Jorge Leitao and Dean Keates himself are too. They all would walk into this system. And team.


Fair enough, I accept your point. So my opinion is that, particularly in modern day football, that’s a really poor choice. Yes, organisation and effort will get you so far (we don’t even have the first of those!) but every team needs some special quality to turn games.


I disagree because then, as we saw under Whitney, you are only ever one injury or loss of form away from having a really poor side on a Saturday, but only time will tell. You may well be correct.


Yep completely agree. Interestingly though, the players on your list are from the 90’s early 00’s and Oztumer, Sawyers and Ledesma are from the more modern era. Is that indicative of the change of style we saw under Smith, or are modern footballers, with their academy upbringings etc, not as effective in playing this rigid style that would have been say 20 years ago…


And I respect your opinion.

Oh, and as opposed to having a really poor team every Saturday this season, injury or loss of form notwithstanding :joy:


There’s absolutely no denying that this is a complete 180 on what Smith was trying to build. But I do think there is a place in modern football for it. Ok maybe not if you are trying to win a Premier League (although to be fair Leicester didn’t do to badly with a set 4-4-2 quite recently) or go far in Europe, but there are plenty of teams and examples of it working all the way through the league.

I just don’t think we have the personnel to do it properly. That won’t make anybody feel any better about our position but I wouldn’t write off the system as a whole because of it.


Well exactly. but I mean look at some of the sides Whitney had to put out. I seem to remember a certain Nicky Devlin having to play right wing because there was literally nobody else to play there at one stage, never mind discussing if he’s the correct option!


Just to bring this back to keates and his managerial ability, do I recollect (possibly falsely) that Wrexham had a decent start last season but that, in his last 10-15 games as manager, they’d somewhat struggled? I could be wrong.


Yep, and to be fair to Keates he has tried a couple of different systems this season. I thought the narrow diamond against Luton to match them up was probably his best tactical performance as he largely nullified the country’s in-form team only to be denied by a goalkeeping error.

I just hope he continues to be flexible in his approach and doesn’t stick rigidly to this 4-4-2 for every single game no matter the opposition.


Best one I saw was 4-3-3 Vs Sunderland this season in the cup. But we can’t play that now because we have to get Jarvis into the side :man_shrugging:

I also cried out for 3/5 at the back for most of the season which he tried once with a certain Mr Martin playing centrally and it completely flopped and was never tried again. We can’t do that either because you need wing backs, which again means dropping Jarvis.


Devlin did great to get into a position to get that shot off, which hit the post. Albeit it was offside.

I am more concerned that he and Edwards - in the 60th minute!!! looked dead on their arse and barely made an attempt to even track back.


That’s a great post Shropshire because your post and Geordie’s posts absolutely gets to the hub of the issue.

We’ve got all these players, all the potential permutations that having all these players brings and all it adds is muddle and confusion.

It feels like he’s nowhere near a best eleven or best formation. Any half decent side from any era you can virtually go through numbers one to eleven and say who was playing in what position. From say Liverpool or even Ipswich of the early 80’s through to our own successful sides at the end of the last millennium you could go through the team.

I have no idea who plays in this team if everybody is fit. I know who our number one and our number nine are. Everything else, with maybe the exception of Jarvis, is a variable, a maybe, a “what if”.

We could all have a pop at guessing this weekend’s outfield ten and even on here, nobody could say with any certainty what looked likely or unlikely and there’s every chance we would all ultimately get it wrong as Keates is prone to the odd “hero to zero” and vice versa moment.

I’m not sure it does our preparation any good either. I’m sure professional sports people can prepare better if they are absolutely certain of their role at an upcoming fixture. Some of our players must go through the week wondering “am I starting, on the bench or in the stands?” which must be a psychological drag that impacts their performance.

It feels like there are the ingredients of a formula that can drag us out but I’m not sure any of us, most worryingly the manager, really knows what that formula is.


They both died off drastically second half to be fair. Edwards looked absolutely shagged.

Not ideal when he’s playing next to Osbourne who looks shagged from minute one.


Which is more bizzare that he left two more energetic players either one the bench (Dobson) or out the squad (Kins). Strange.


Yep there’s no defence of the Kins one. Even if there is a contract dispute he’s been our best player in that position all season.