Dean Keates: "To An Extent, It's Our FA Cup Final"

Walsall manager Dean Keates has spoken to the press ahead of Saturday afternoon's League One six-pointer with Bradford City and admitted that the game could have huge implications on the Saddlers' season, even going as far as describing the match as their FA Cup Final.
The Saddlers have been in dismal form as of late, losing each of their last five league outings, and are in desperate need of a win as they sit just two points above the relegation zone heading into the clash with the Bantams, a side also scrambling to secure themselves a place in League One for next season.

Speaking via the Express & Star, Dean said; "There is no under-selling it – it is a massive game. We have to put a building block in place that we can step on and go again the week after. To an extent, it’s our FA Cup final. We have to get a result.

"There is pressure there but we have to rise to the challenge, we have to deal with that. The lads were in a similar situation last year and they came through it. They need to draw on that experience, add to it and remember they have done it once – they can do it again."

Walsall's most recent outing saw them defeated by Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena with former Saddlers Amadou Bakayoko and Jordy Hiwula getting on the scoresheet – a result which means the 'Boys from the Bescot' have won just once in their last thirteen games.

But while Keates, who has been under increasing pressure over recent weeks, admitted that his players were flat when they reported for training on Monday morning, he now insists that there is now plenty of positivity in the camp heading into tomorrow’s big match.

The Walsall-born boss added; "The week has progressively got a lot better – it is now a lot more upbeat. The players were very down on Monday. We lifted their spirits, we had a good session and it’s got progressively better over the course of the week.

"They are now a lot more upbeat and there is a lot more positivity about the place. With how results went on Tuesday, there is only one team that gained a point on us. We know we are accountable for the demise of both results and performances.

"But we have to turn that corner. And the only way to do that is by getting a result tomorrow."
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