Martin O'Connor: "It's All to Play For"

Interim Walsall boss Martin O'Connor has spoken ahead of this weekend's season-ending League One clash with Shrewsbury Town, and insisted the Saddlers must focus solely on beating the Shrews, and not worry about results elsewhere.
The Saddlers, who head into the clash on the back of last weekend's welcome win over Peterborough United, are one point from safety and will only secure a spot in League One next season if they can couple a win over the Shrews with a couple of favourable results elsewhere.

But 51-year-old O’Connor, who will be taking charge of his fifth game since replacing Dean Keates in April, insists his squad can only concentrate on getting a result against Sam Ricketts’ Shrews, and shouldn't worry about results elsewhere.

Speaking via the club's official website, Martin said; "From our point of view, it’s about focusing on what we do and what we can affect. We can’t affect other results.

"All we can do is give it our best against Shrewsbury and hopefully the powers that be look upon us and give us another year in League One. Other results go for us, fantastic.

"If they don’t, we’re disappointed and we’ll have to lick our wounds. It’s about putting a performance in against Shrewsbury, who are safe now. They’ll want to relegate us and win because it’s a local derby.

"It’s all to play for. It’s a great game to play in. But we have to play with our heads as well as our hearts."

Despite the pressure on the game, the interim boss will be telling his team to play with the same freedom they showed in the impressive 3-0 victory over Peterborough, a game which gave us a glimpse of the form which we were treated to at the start of the season.

The gaffer added; "We told them to go and play with freedom, not to be scared to make mistakes. Modern-day players, I think some of them are afraid to make mistakes.

"The meeting before the game against Peterborough was just go and play with freedom, with a smile on your face, go and enjoy it. The belief we instilled, we wanted a confident and shackle-free performance and I think we got that from 11 players.

"The fans, if you show you’re having a go and fighting for the cause, they’ll back you. I know the Walsall fans well – I speak to most of them every day. It’s something I’ve tried to instil in the boys, that they have to play with pride and hopefully we can do that on Saturday. If we do produce our best form, we’ve got a chance of winning the game."
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