Express & Star

Walsall vs Northampton: Nicky Devlin desperate to seize big chance

Walsall have to step up and stop relying on other teams if they want to stay in League One, Nicky Devlin has declared.


The Saddlers face what looks set to be a season-defining game when they host relegation rivals Northampton at the Banks’s Stadium tomorrow.

Dean Keates’ side enter the clash sitting just one place above the bottom four – with only goal difference keeping them above the dreaded dotted line.

But while the picture is far from bright, the Saddlers did survive a scare earlier this week when Oldham and Rochdale failed to beat Southend and Plymouth respectably. If they had, Walsall would have entered tomorrow’s game alongside the Cobblers in the drop zone.

Now, though, their fate is well and truly in their own hands with Keates’ men enjoying the benefit of a game in hand over their rivals.

And Devlin admits they will only have themselves to blame if they do go down.

“It’s down to us – listen if we don’t get out of this position we have got nobody to blame but ourselves,” the Scotsman said.

“With the results over the past few weeks – even though we have not been picking up good results – we seem to have kept it in our hands. But we can’t keep relying on other teams.

“We need to get ourselves out of this position.

“We are in a position where it’s in our hands but we can’t keep hoping for favours.

“We have to go and make it happen for ourselves.”

Northampton looked as good as relegated a few weeks ago but back-to-back victories over Bury and Plymouth mean they are now just two points behind the Saddlers.

It’s likely, though, the Cobblers will have to win tomorrow to have any chance of avoiding League Two.

And with so much at stake, Devlin is predicting a scrappy game.

“It’s going to be a tough game, they have hit a bit of form at the perfect time,” the 24-year-old continued.

“But we know how big this game is. I’m expecting it to be fast, with a high tempo.

“It’s probably going to be one of those where there is not much quality in the game.

“It’s going to be the team that makes the least mistakes – or the team that has a player produce a bit of magic – that wins it. But it’s our final home game of the season. The club have put on an offer that has hopefully made it accessible for everyone.

“We need our fans more than ever this weekend and we appreciate the backing we get.

“If we can get a few more through the door, hopefully, they will help push us on and be that extra bit we need to get three points.”