Dean Keates plotting overhaul of Walsall squad
Boss Dean Keates is predicting a busy summer as he looks to build a Walsall team in his own mould.
The 39-year-old watched on Saturday as an experimental Saddlers XI ended the season by slipping to a 2-0 loss at Fleetwood.
Having replaced the sacked Jon Whitney back in March, Keates is now looking forward to his first transfer window in the Walsall hotseat.
And he showed in his time at Wrexham that he is not afraid to make wholesale changes.
After guiding the Welsh side to safety following the departure of Gary Mills in 2017, Keates ripped up that team to build the one that had been competing for promotion until his departure this year.
And the boss believes this summer could be just as busy for him.
“I had a busy one last summer and I expect this to be exactly the same," Keates said.
"We will come back and I will make sure there is a team that goes there out there and gives everything for the football club and fans next season.
“It will be a busy summer but that’s part and parcel of my job and that’s why I’m here. To give the town and the fans something to be proud of.
"I have got decisions to make and they are going to be tough decisions.
"There are a lot of players still under contract for next season – I would probably go as far as to say 75-80 per cent of the lads.
"But I have to make the decisions that are right to take the football club forward."
Keates will tell all his players how he sees them fitting into the club's future at individual meetings due to take place tomorrow.
"The lads are back in on Tuesday," he added.
"I will have individual meetings with the players and things will be announced from there.
"I’ve been monitoring everything since I’ve been here, watching, learning, understanding people’s characters and my decisions have been made."
Meanwhile, Walsall announced in the build-up to the Fleetwood game the players who have won end of season awards.
Joe Edwards was crowned Player of the Year with Erhun Oztumer picking up the Players' Player of the Year gong.
Kory Roberts was named Young Player of the Season while George Dobson's crucial strike against Northampton won Goal of the Season.