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Meet the Manager: News From Tuesday Evening's Event
 
Meet the Manager: News From Tuesday Evening's Event
Meet the Manager: News From Tuesday Evening's Event
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Meet the Manager: News From Tuesday Evening's Event

8:15 pm Tuesday, 24 July 2018
Here is a run down of events from Tuesday evening's 'Meet the Manager' evening which was held at Banks's Stadium and saw Saddlers boss Dean Keates and assistant manager Andy Davies answer supporters' questions.
The manager and his assistant were on hand to answer several questions with topics such as transfers, budget, playing style, and Dean's desire to reunite the people of Walsall with their football club, all being covered in a busy hour-long event.

Sections of this report have been reordered for clarity

The opening question of the night was about summer signing Andy Cook: Dean admitted that he'd tried 'relentlessly' to land the former Tranmere Rovers striker when he was at Wrexham.

The gaffer went on to agree that Cook is different, he's not the prettiest striker in terms of style but, if the ball is played into the right areas, he will get goals - as seen during last week's victory over Ajax Amsterdam.

Keates insisted that 'first and foremost, fans want to see players try and give the commitment a fan would if they were out on the pitch.'

Attention then turned to the trialists currently trying to earn a deal with the club; Keates revealed that two trialists remain with the club, both are central defenders and both have already played a part in pre-season.

The manager then went on to insist that it has been about getting the right players in. He agreed that the centre of defence needs to be addressed. He also insisted that there will be new signings before the opening game of the season.

The manager also praised youngsters Sam Leivesley and Luke Little, admitting that neither has looked out of place as they make the step up from the youth ranks.

The manager also revealed that he is still on the look out for a striker. He believes that Cook will supply some goals with Amadou Bakayoko also capable of contributing. There is also praise for first-year pro Dylan Parker, who has done well during pre-season.

There is then some discussion about set-pieces. Keates likes to have players on the posts when defending corners as it narrows the angle for the goalkeeper.

The manager also discussed the ever-controversial Checkatrade Trophy. He admitted that he would like to use the competition to give some of his fringe players a run out but is scuppered by the rules which don't allow clubs to ring the changes.

Going back to the defensive situation. Dean is not concerned about any potential new signing not having time to bed into the squad. He believes that defenders find it easier than wingers to slip into a setup as they know their responsibilities.

The manager insisted that the defensive compactness has been a work in progress as seen with the improvements from game-to-game, culminating in the clean sheet secured against Ajax.

Dean will look at the team's midfield options and is one of the areas he may need to add a signing to. He confirms that Liam Kinsella is no longer considered a right-back and offers praise for long-term Saddler Jordon Sangha. The younger players are praised for their development. Dean can see that there is talent in the development squad.

The oddly constructed pre-season schedule is discussed; Dean admitted that the home games were a little close together and was relieved to get through them without picking up any soft-tissue injuries. He did however insist that all of the games selected were his decision alone.

Dean admitted that in an ideal world the potential new arrivals will be permanent deals but revealed that he has a few loan signings in mind if that doesn't work out.

The manager insisted that he wants his players to be able to express themselves on the pitch.

We then go on to talk about the injuries to Kory Roberts and Joe Edwards; Dean admitted that it was unfortunate to see Kory suffer such a long-term injury and revealed that he underwent a four-hour operation. Kory was set to play a large role for the club this season and they will continue to support him through his recovery.

Joe Edwards, who has been working at St George's Park, is ahead of schedule. Keates, who wasn't prepared to put a date on a potential return, admitted that realistically if the club can have him fully-fit and back playing in January, it would be great. But you never know what is around the corner.

Keates then revealed that he wants to make a minimum of three if not four new signings before the season starts. Although the loan window remains open until the end of August so does give him options.

The manager does not want to sign players for the sake of it but did admit that there is nowhere near the right amount of strength and depth required. He wants to sign his own players but if that doesn't work out he will agree loan deals and has several under-23s pushing for a place in the matchday squad.

Assistant Andy Davies discussed the role he has been playing during pre-season; The former Wrexham schoolboy revealed that his main job is to work with the players and offer guidance from the sidelines.

The manager insisted that there is room in the budget to make signings without anyone leaving the squad, but there could still be a few departures as the transfer window remains open for business.

We look forward to the upcoming League One campaign; The manager admitted that it is important to show that the team has progressed. The last quarter of the Northampton Town clash showed how the fans can drive the team on, the manager revealed that it was as special a moment as an of the experiences he had as a player.

Dean wants the people of Walsall to buy into the football club, his main aim is to get the town behind the football club again and everyone united moving forward.


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