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Ian Sharps: Walsall fighting for futures

By Joseph Masi | Walsall FC | Published:

Assistant manager Ian Sharps admits everyone at Walsall is fighting for their future following the appointment of Dean Keates as boss.

Walsall boss Dean Keates

Keates, who replaced the sacked Jon Whitney last week, watched from the stands on Wednesday as the Saddlers slipped to their fifth loss in six outings against Wigan.

With Walsall not in action this weekend, the new manager now has an extended period of time to assess both his playing and coaching staff.

The Express & Star understands the 39-year-old has been given scope by the board to bring in his own back-room team if he wishes.

And with the Saddlers embroiled in a relegation battle, Sharps admits everyone needs to impress the new boss if they want to still be around next season.

"If the gaffer will have me, I’ll stay and give my utmost, like I always have," the former Burton defender said when asked about his future.

"How he goes forward is entirely up to him. I have to try and impress him as well as the players trying to impress him.

"Players are playing for contracts now, for next season, as well as trying to be in this league. It is an opportunity, we have to see it as that.

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"I back my ability to coach players. But we will have to wait and see. What is best for Walsall is obviously the main thing."

Walsall's only win in their last outings seven came in a 3-0 triumph at Southend on March 3, a match that saw Erhun Oztumer net a hat-trick.

And since that game, Sharps admits the team hasn't been good enough defensively.

"Part of football is being under pressure," he continued.

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"We have conceded too many goals in the last three games.

"At Southend, we looked comfortable on the ball, good in defence.

"Now we’ve conceded eight goals in three games and it is not good enough. We have to keep more clean sheets, we know that."

With the Wigan game out of the way, Sharps says Keates will now be more hands-on.

"Me and John (Ward) took training last Thursday," he added.

"Keatesy came in on the Friday and expressed how he wants us to go forward.

"The gaffer came in Monday and Tuesday just to oversee things. He’s getting to know the players, he's watching videos and asking people’s opinions.

"Going forward he is very positive about what we can be."

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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