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Walsall boss Dean Keates: We’ll take FA Cup seriously

By Joe Edwards | Walsall FC | Published:

Walsall boss Dean Keates has vowed they will not take the FA Cup lightly as the competition ‘still means a lot’ to supporters.

Dean Keates

The Saddlers are hoping for a decent Cup run after falling at the first hurdle in the past two seasons.

Fellow League One side Coventry are the ones hoping to inflict a third immediate exit in a row on them tomorrow.

“It’s going to be great atmosphere – there always is in Cup games,” said Keates.

“It’s the FA Cup and it still means a lot to people.

“We have got a massive game. There will be a big attendance, it will be a typical cup atmosphere.

“And Coventry are flying at the moment. We need to upset them.”

Walsall head into the match on a run of just one win from their last five games.

And while the clash acts as a welcome break from League One action, Keates insists they want to win just as much – after revealing there are even consequences for the team that loses in training.

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On if the pressure is off at all, Keates said: “To an extent but it’s a game of football and as I’ve said from day one, I want winners in there.

“If you don’t win in training, there are forfeits they have to do.”

The Saddlers could have Albion loanee Jack Fitzwater available.

The 21-year-old has missed the last three games with a knock to his toe.

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He had played every every minute of every fixture before that so Keates could well have a tough decision on his hands on whether to put him back into the starting XI, or stick with player-coach Russell Martin alongside Jon Guthrie.

“He is OK, he is not far off and has trained over the last few days,” said Keates. “He just had a bit of a reaction to the toe injury he picked up. But he’s not too far away.

Something else for Keates to consider is the formation.

Keates opted for a 4-3-3 in the 3-1 loss to Burton last weekend and then changed to a 4-4-2 as they were beaten 2-0 by Charlton on Tuesday.

“There were bits and pieces in the game where we did well,” added Keates on the system against the Addicks.

“But again there are things to learn. Shape wise, I thought we did okay in bits and pieces.”

Joe Edwards

By Joe Edwards
Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @JoeEdwards_Star

Sports reporter for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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