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Neil Etheridge: Walsall will stick together

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge believes Walsall's togetherness will see them return to top form at Gillingham tonight.

The Saddlers make the long trip to Kent looking to return to winning ways, following back-to-back defeats against Sheffield United and Oldham.

They will face a Gills side who themselves are competing to win automatic promotion, with Justin Edinburgh's men currently sat fifth in League One.

Despite their recent losses, Walsall still have the best away record in the division with Etheridge insisting that statistic, along with their team spirit, means they can enter tonight's clash confident of victory.

He said: "As a group of players, we are extremely close. We have a strong bond.

"A lot of the players have been here for a while but when new players came in during the summer, including myself, we bonded very quickly.

"It's a tight-knit group and that has helped us on the field and off the field and will continue to do so.

"We are in the run-in now and it's mentally tough but the squad is strong. Our togetherness is fantastic and we know we are going to pull each other through.

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"The away form has been fantastic this season and we won't dwell on the fact we have lost two games – we never dwell when things don't go our way and that is why we are where we are in the league."

With the Saddlers playing eight games in the space of just four weeks, Etheridge is expecting Jon Whitney to rotate his squad as the season draws to a close.

The Philippines international continued: "We know we have got to be at 100 per cent in every game we play. We don't have a points target – we are going out to win every game.

"We know are a very good team – we feel we can switch between formations and do it well.

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"There are a lot of games between now and the end of the season so there will be changes to the personnel and system, but having everyone fighting to play can only be a good thing."

Meanwhile, Etheridge kept his cards close to his chest when asked who he thinks will be crowned the club's player of the year on May 8.

He added: "Whoever wins it will deserve it because there are a few candidates. I'm going to keep who I want to win under wraps but there are a few players I've got in mind.

"There are still seven games to play – that might not change anything, but seven games is still a long way to go."

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