Chris Marsh: Now is crunch time for Walsall's season
February is do or die for Walsall – it’s as simple as that.
Things looked a lot rosier after the 3-0 win at Gillingham. But then the same defensive mistakes reared their ugly head against Plymouth.
I think Derek Adams’ side had just two genuine attempts on target – both from set-pieces. It was the same in the home loss to Scunthorpe, the Iron had just two shots on target but came away with a 2-1 win.
You can argue Walsall are defending well to limit teams to so few opportunities. But now it’s getting to the stage where I’m worried we’ll concede whenever they do get a sniff of goal.
It’s often said you can look at statistics in different ways.
But it doesn’t matter how you look at the form table at the minute, it makes for dreadful reading.
If you just took the last six games, Walsall would be 22nd. If you take the last eight, they are bottom. And if you look at the last 12, they are 23rd. No matter how you spin it, it’s relegation form. And February will now define the campaign.
The next three home games are against teams in the relegation zone.
It starts with the visit of Rochdale on Saturday. Keith Hill’s side have won on their last three visits to the Banks’s Stadium. But Walsall have to win this one. The Dale are just four points below them in the table. And they will be looking at us as a team they can first catch and then overhaul.
Walsall, very simply, cannot allow that to happen.
After that it’s a trip to Blackpool. And then the Saddlers have rock-bottom Wimbledon at home – that is a must-win game.
It’s then my employers Coventry before Walsall finish the month against Bradford – who remain in the bottom four despite an upturn in form.
Current form cannot continue – things have to change.
I really hope in a month’s time we can look at this column and say ‘Marshy – what was all the fuss about?’
I hope over the next few games we get the points to push up back towards that top 10 and away from danger. But you can’t sugar-coat it, if we don’t do well in the next few games we are going to sucked right in.
They are huge, so let’s get some consistent performances, consistent results and get ourselves out of trouble now rather than be looking over our shoulders in March.
Finally this week, I just want to wish Kieron Morris all the best for the future. I’ve said many times in this column I am a fan of the winger.
It seems as though he is not in Keatesy’s plans. But that happens in football. It happened to me under both Ray Graydon and Laurie Sanchez.
Kieron has to now use this as motivation and to prove Keates wrong.
Who knows he may progress and move to a Championship club one day, you never know.
He may come back to haunt Walsall, but things like that happen all the time.
He wasn’t playing so it’s best he moved on, but I hope he does well at Tranmere.
Like a lot of Walsall fans, I’ll be watching his progress closely.