Nicky Devlin: Dean Keates has backing of Walsall players
Nicky Devlin insists Walsall’s players are still fully behind manager Dean Keates.
The Saddlers’ dreadful form in League One continued on Saturday as they were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Coventry.
Having now lost five consecutive matches, Keates is facing mounting criticism from fans, with many believing the time has come for him to move on.
But while Devlin admits Walsall’s form has been nowhere near good enough, he insists it’s the players who are at fault – not the manager.
“Everyone in the dressing room is right behind the gaffer,” the Scotsman said. “We want to do well and part of that is you want the gaffer to do well. He is a very likeable guy and you want to do well for him as well as yourselves.
“But unfortunately, as manager, he seems to take the brunt of the blame. But as players it’s us who have not been good enough. It’s not the manager.”
Walsall created next to nothing, with a 79th-minute shot from Joe Edwards – which was comfortable for keeper David Stockdale – their only effort on target.
And Devlin felt, with the exception of goalkeeper Liam Roberts, no Saddlers player performed as they can.
“Every player on the park wasn’t good enough bar Robbo, who was the only one to probably get pass marks,” the 25-year-old continued. “If you look through the two teams, they were better than us in all positions and that is not acceptable.”
Devlin was particularly disappointed with the lack of chances his side created.
“It’s frustrating because we’ve got someone up there (Andy Cook) who if we do create chances, he is going score goals and we are not giving him the opportunity to do that,” he added.