Andy Taylor admits being quick out of the blocks could be key to Walsall extending their excellent away form at MK Dons.
The Saddlers are looking to record their fifth away win of the season against the Dons and like many of their games this season, the first goal might be key.
When Dean Smith’s side have netted first this season they have gone on to win the game – the only exception being the 1-1 home draw with Notts County.
Conversely, they are yet to win after conceding first, a statistic which is not lost on full-back Taylor.
Early goals were certainly key in the recent wins over Stevenage and Swindon and Taylor admits the Saddlers are looking for more of the same tomorrow.
“We aim to try and start fast and put teams on the back foot straight away,” he said.
“You can’t do it every game because I imagine most teams are trying the same thing.
“If we get our noses in front we are always confident we can push on for more or if not hold on for the 1-0 win.
“It gives you a good platform. When you know you are solid as a team it gives you the confidence to go forward and push on. If you are going into games not feeling confident, or thinking you might have to score two or three to win, it’s difficult.
“At the minute we are going into games knowing if we score we have a very good chance of winning.”
While much of the focus has fallen on the Saddlers’ lack of goals at times this season, the defence have quietly gone about establishing themselves as one of the most stubborn in League One.
Taylor believes a consistent line-up – the back five including keeper Richard O’Donnell have started the last 10 games together – has been key to their success.
“We have been fortunate enough to have a settled back four for the past couple of months, which always helps,” said Taylor.
“It feels very organised. There are not many points in games where you feel we are stretched. We are working on our shape on the training ground and it’s showing in games.
“Teams are finding it hard to break down. Rich has not had too many saves to make because we are limiting teams to a small number of chances.”
On recent form, MK appear not to represent the toughest test Smith’s side have faced on the road so far. Karl Robinson’s side have lost five of their last six games and were beaten at home by Carlisle last time out.
Robinson has not been helped by a glut of injuries which has seen keeper David Martin sidelined along with midfielders Dele Ali and Dean Bowditch among others.
Martin is rated 50/50 to return on Saturday, otherwise one-time Walsall loanee Ian McLoughlin will continue to deputise in goal.
Smith is likely to stick with the three-man central midfield which has served his side so well on their travels.
Despite the hosts’ poor form, Taylor points to the fact they are still a club with a large budget who expect to challenge for promotion this term.
“They might be going through an iffy form patch but they are still a good team,” he said.
“You expect them to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season so it’s going to be a tough game.
“But we are in good form ourselves. We will go there in good spirits and do the business.”