Dean Keates wants Walsall to be bad luck for the Black Cats
Boss Dean Keates wants Walsall to prove they are Sunderland’s ‘bogey side’ as the two teams get set to lock horns tomorrow.
The Saddlers travel to the Stadium of Light having already taken on Jack Ross’ side three times this season.
After two draws at the Banks’s Stadium, Keates’ men then secured 1-0 FA Cup victory in the North East back in December.
Those results have led to Sunderland fans labelling Walsall their “bogey side.” And Keates hopes they are.
“It’ll be nice if we are their bogey side,” the boss said.
“We’re going there and will give our absolute best to get a result.
“It’ll be an unbelievable atmosphere. As a club, as a group of players, there’s no pressure on us.
“The opportunity is there to go and play. All being well, we’ll give a great account of our football club and get something.”
Sunderland, who were in the Premier League just two years ago, enter the game sitting third in the League One table.
But while Walsall have avoided defeat against the division heavyweights three times now, Keates doesn’t feel that gives them any advantage.
“Every match is different,” the manager continued.
“Just because we’ve done well previously against them, it doesn’t guarantee anything at the weekend.
“All it means is that we know the surroundings and what the players are going into it. it
“But they’re a League One club – and that’s what we are. It’s about whoever turns up on the day and wants it most.”
Walsall welcome top scorer Andy Cook back into the fold tomorrow after the striker completed his three game suspension.
But Keates kept his cards closed to his chest when asked if the 28-year-old would come straight back into the starting line-up.
“He (Cook) has been a bit frustrated,” the boss added.
“We didn’t win the appeal and he’s been doing a little bit of extra work.
“He’s got to be patient now, whether he comes in at the weekend, we’ll have to wait and see.”