Dean Keates: Wrexham boss Gary Mills releases veteran captain

Dean Keates has played more than 150 games for Wrexham since joining in August 2010
Dean Keates has played more than 150 games for Wrexham since joining in August 2010

Wrexham have released captain Dean Keates after nearly five years at the Conference club.

Kyle Storer has also been released but fellow midfielder Jay Harris has been offered a new contract by new manager Gary Mills.

Mills also confirmed coach Carl Darlington, who spent a short spell as caretaker manager, will not continue in his role.

Goalkeeper coach Michael Oakes has also left the Conference club.

Mills has held talks with midfielder Joe Clarke and further discussions will take place over the coming weeks.

Midfielder Keates, 36, joined from Wycombe in August 2010 and has made more than 150 appearances for the Welsh side.

Keates, who criticised ex-boss Kevin Wilkin for outdated training methods, signed a one-year extension in May 2014 but has not been offered a new deal.

"Dean Keates is a player I've always rated and respected," Mills told BBC Wales Sport.

"He's a good professional but it got to the stage, with me coming in as manager, that I've had to make a big decision.

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"He understands and as in football you have to move on."

Mills said he was "confident" former Accrington Stanley and Chester midfielder Harris would remain at the club after being offered a new deal.

"We've sat down and I think that's the first steps to it, the fact he wants to stay and I want him there," Mills added.

"We can move forward from there, so I'm very positive."

Mills wants Darren Caskey as his assistant at the Racecourse but said talks were still ongoing between Wrexham and former club Gateshead over his release.

Darlington, who joined Wrexham's coaching team in December 2014, will not be part of Mills's backroom staff.

"Realistically there wasn't a position for Carl this season," Mills said.

"I know he's respected and did well at the back end of last season but I have to come in with the staff I want around me to go forward now.

"[Michael] felt it was time to move on - that was his personal decision. I was looking forward to working with him."

In a message posted on Twitter, former New Saints head coach Darlington said he was "devastated" to be leaving Wrexham.

"I've been a fan all my life and will remain so, but I do feel sad that I can't help the club further in achieving Football League status once again," he said.

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