Dean Keates: Walsall finding their rhythm
Boss Dean Keates believes Walsall are beginning to rediscover their best form as they prepare to face Fleetwood.
The Saddlers made a flying start to the 2018/19 campaign with Keates’ men unbeaten in their first seven outings in League One.
But their form has been indifferent since with six defeats, three wins and a draw in their last 10 outings.
After back-to-back losses to Burton and Charlton, the Saddlers got back to winning ways against Coventry in the FA Cup last weekend. And Keates saw plenty of positives in that game.
“We aren’t far away,” the boss said.
“In the games we have lost, we have created opportunities, not taken them and been punished.
“There are bits that we need to learn from but against Coventry we showed great character.
“We went 2-0 up. We got pegged back to 2-2. But after conceding that second goal we went on to win it and were the better team. We will draw on that.”
Walsall take on Fleetwood tomorrow in a match that has been moved to a noon kick-off so it can be shown live on SKY television.
But Keates doesn’t expect being on TV to affect his players.
“As a player it shouldn’t make one bit of difference if I’m honest,” the boss continued.
“I wouldn’t expect it to make any difference.
“It’s a game and we have to go and do our best to win it.
“We will see what happens on the day, but just because it’s on Sky I expect no difference from my players.”
The clash at Highbury Stadium will see Keates lock horns with Joey Barton who was appointed Fleetwood’s manager in the summer.
The controversial figure turned out for Man City, Newcastle, QPR and Burnley in his playing days that also included one England cap.
And Keates feels the 36-year-old deserve credit for starting his managerial reign further down the pyramid.
“He (Barton) comes with his own profile – but he’s put himself in a at the deep end,” Keates added.
“He has started lower down and wants to build his reputation. I give him a lot of respect for that.”