Florent Cuvelier: Dean Keates has Walsall 'buzzing'

Florent Cuvelier says the appointment of Dean Keates as boss has given Walsall’s players an extra spring in their step.

Cuvelier believes that Walsall's players have been boosted by Keates' arrival
Cuvelier believes that Walsall's players have been boosted by Keates' arrival

Club favourite Keates, who won two promotions with the Saddlers as a player, was appointed manager on March 16 following the sacking of Jon Whitney.

Over the past two weeks, the 39-year-old has been working hard to assess the players at his disposal while also getting to know them as people.

And Cuvelier has been impressed by the way the new boss has gone about his business on the training ground.

“Since the gaffer has come in training has been first-class,” the Belgian said.

“He has brought a great atmosphere to the club. His training sessions are great. He wants us to work really hard and be positive and happy. But ultimately he wants us to get the job done.

“The lads are buzzing when it’s training time so that is positive. He wants us to play an attacking style of football which will suit this team and this football club.

“He wants us to play at a high tempo. He doesn’t want us taking too many risks. But he does want us to get crosses into the box and get chances by expressing ourselves in the final third.”

Cuvelier made his first start since December in Walsall’s 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth last weekend.

The midfielder, who has been blighted by injury over the past few years, had been forced to play to second-fiddle to George Dobson during the final few months of Whitney’s tenure.

But he admitted he was delighted to be back in from the start for what was Keates’ first game in the dugout.

“I was very happy to start,” the former Stoke man said.

“When a new manager comes in it’s a fresh start for everybody.

“Me personally, it has given me a boost of confidence. I enjoy training, I’m working really hard – not just at the training ground but at home as well.

“Now I’m hoping I can play a major role in helping the team stay in League One.”

Meanwhile, the Saddlers’ trip to Bradford City has been rearranged for Tuesday, May 1 (kick-off 7.45pm).

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