Dean Keates: Walsall pups will learn valuable lessons
Boss Dean Keates believes Walsall’s youngsters will learn some valuable lessons from their Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Port Vale.
Both teams entered the Northern Group E tie having already cemented their place in the last 32.
But it was Vale who topped the group after they ran out 2-1 winners at the Banks’s Stadium.
Scott Quigley put the visitors ahead before Connor Johnson equalised for the Saddlers.
But the Wolves loanee was then sent off shortly after the interval with Danny Pugh grabbing a winner.
“It was a strange game,” Keates said.
“We had a lot of possession. We just didn’t do enough to create opportunities.
“Their first goal came from us and is something we need to look at and learn from.
“It was a very, very young team out there. We will give them feedback and help them make better decisons.
“It’s just a case of being a bit cuter. They have to learn and they have to learn quick.”
Keates said Johnson will also learn from his red card with the manager having no qualms about the decision.
“The sending off is something Connor needs to learn from,” the boss continued.
“He has to go and make first contact with the ball. He has then made a decision to go back to the keeper.
“He’s had the opportunity to go back and he has tried to turn and put himself in trouble. It’s a second yellow card.”
Keates made eight changes from the tie but he was disappointed to lose the game.
“We had already qualified but we wanted to win the group,” he added.
“We were at home and we want to win football matches.
“But I had to get the players some minutes in the tank. We have got a hectic schedule coming up to Christmas - there are a lot if games coming thick and fast.
"We needed to get minutes into their legs.”