Accrington v Walsall: George Dobson says Walsall players are up for the fight
Their application and commitment has been questioned following the loss to Oxford.
But skipper George Dobson is adamant Walsall have the hunger and desire needed to win their battle against relegation.
The Saddlers return to action at Accrington Stanley tomorrow – a week after losing to an Oxford side who had to play the entire second half with 10 men.
With a large number of Walsall players out of contract in the summer, that loss has led to people questioning whether the players have the desire to stay up.
But Dobson insists the squad do have the right character to get enough points from the remaining five games and stay in League One.
“100 per cent we have the hunger needed to stay up,” the midfielder said.
“Nobody wants to be playing in League Two next season. Every player is hungry to stay up.
“It has happened a few times this season where a few players have gone within themselves in games.
“It happened again against Oxford, but we know we have got to be much better than that.
“I’m still very confident we will stay up and there is definitely still hunger in the dressing room to stay up.”
Dobson has been one of the few positives in an overall disappointing season for the Saddlers.
And the loss against Oxford proved to be the final straw for manager Dean Keates, who was sacked shortly after the full-time whistle.
Martin O’Connor has been placed in caretaker charge for the remaining five games.
And while Dobson was sad to see Keates depart, he said the players now have no choice but to look forward.
“For me, the gaffer (Keates) had been brilliant,” the 21-year-old continued. “He gave me the opportunity of playing football week in, week out at my age.
“It’s never nice to see someone lose their job, but we have just got to look forward now.
“Martin has taken over until the end of the season and he has been really positive around the place.
“We’ve been working on a few new ideas, he is really positive and we are very confident we have enough in the dressing room to get ourselves out of the situation we are in.”
After the Stanley game, Walsall take on fellow strugglers Southend and Wycombe.
“Over the next three games we are playing the teams that, along with us, are in the worse form in the league,” Dobson added.
“They are going to be sat there ahead of the game thinking exactly the same thing we are.
“Accrington, Southend and Wycombe are three games that we can’t go into fearing what could happen. We can’t play within ourselves.”
Subs: Dunn, Norman, Fitzwater, Laird, Osbourne, Blackett-Taylor, Oteh.
Accrington (4-2-3-1): Evtimov, Sykes, Armstrong, Hughes, Clark, Brown, Donacien, Conneely, McConville, Barlaser, Kee.
The opposition: Accrington Stanley are feeling good
Accrington may be embroiled in a relegation scrap, but there remains a real feel-good factor around John Coleman’s side.
After winning promotion last year, Stanley are playing in League One for the very first time in their history.
And while a blistering start to the campaign raised expectations, fans are just happy to see their team in with a shout of survival with only a handful of matches left to play.
There is no denying though, relegation looks a real possibility for a club operating on the lowest budget in the division.
Coleman’s side have lost seven of their last nine games, they have also won only twice in their last 11 outings.
And that means they enter tomorrow’s game sitting 17th in the table, just two points above the relegation zone.
While they don’t have a lot of money, Coleman insists Stanley are the ‘richest club for passion’ in the Football League.
The boss admits, though, his players are starting to get anxious in the race for survival.
But he feels the club’s passionate fans can play a huge part in helping them turn their fortunes around against Walsall tomorrow. “I think our fans have been fantastic and we are going to really need them against Walsall on Saturday,” Coleman said. “We need a show of strength from our fans.
“It’s great having the big flag shows, and they are magnificent when they pull it off, and we need them now.
“We need every show of support that we can get, be it visual or vocal. I know the players will respond to that so this is a big call out to our fans.
“I know they’ve never let us down in the past, the ones who come are absolutely magnificent, and hopefully they’ll get out in force and show how much they want to stay in League One as much as we do.
“The lads know what this means for everyone, and I think they’re feeling it.
“Sometimes it can get you a little bit too edgy, but we’ve got to overcome that and I’m sure we will.”
Despite their struggles, Stanley have a host of players Walsall have to be wary off.
Billy Kee remains their man goalscoring threat. But Jordan Clark is a technically-gifted winger.
And Sean McConville has chipped in with 10 goals from midfield.
Pie and a pint:
Behind the Main Stand is the Club Sports Bar which allows in visiting fans. The nearest pub is The Crown.
Mark Wright scored the winner five minutes from time in Walsall’s last league win at Accrington – 2-1 in 2006.
Josh Gordon’s movement is key to Walsall being able to get the ball down and play. He’s also now looks a real goal threat.
The former Burton Albion frontman scored 26 goals to fire Stanley to promotion from League Two last season.
He’s followed that up with 12 this campaign to keep them out of the drop zone.