Walsall defender Jon Guthrie: We’re all out to impress Dean Keates
Defender Jon Guthrie says all of Walsall’s players are working hard in a bid to prove themselves to new boss Dean Keates.
Keates, who replaced the sacked Jon Whitney earlier this month, will be in the dugout for the first time today as the Saddlers welcome Portsmouth to the Banks’s Stadium.
The 39-year-old boss opted to watch Walsall’s defeat to Wigan from the stands – with the former midfielder eager to use the international break to get to know his players before taking full control.
And having now enjoyed an extended period of time on the training ground with their new gaffer, Guthrie admits the players are heading into today’s game determined to impress him.
“Everyone is out to impress,” former Crewe defender Guthrie said.
“When a new manager comes in it’s a clean slate, everyone knows they have got a chance to be in the team for what is a huge game against Portsmouth. We have all heard the stories about him – he is a legend around here. And he has come in and been really positive. We have had a really good week.
“He has worked us hard on the training ground and has drilled some new things into us.
“He has brought with him fresh ideas. He wants us to be harder to beat – we all know that we have conceded too many goals. We need to tighten up.
“But going forward as well, he has brought fresh ideas. He has made it clear we can improve all over.”
While Guthrie has enjoyed working with Keates over the past 10 days, he said he still feels guilty for the way Whitney lost his job.
“It’s never easy when a manager leaves,” the 25-year-old continued.
“As players it’s hard and it was particularly difficult for me because Jon brought me here – I owe him a lot.
“As players, we have got to look at ourselves because results were not going the way we wanted them to.
“We let ourselves down in some games and didn’t perform as we can.
“Managers losing their jobs is happening more and more in football so you have to get used to it.
“But it’s never nice when it does happen. At the end of the day, somebody has lost their job. The players and the staff here are all accountable for that.”