Dean Keates: Andy Cook the example to follow at Walsall
Dean Keates has urged his crop of Walsall forwards to follow in the footsteps of Andy Cook and make the most of their opportunity.
Cook has been a revelation since moving to the Banks’s Stadium from Tranmere with the striker having netted 16 goals this season.
That form saw him nominated for the League One Player of the Month award in January.
But while Cook has scored regularly, fellow forwards Josh Gordon and Morgan Ferrier – who also arrived in the summer – have found goals harder to come by.
Keates, though, believes all his forwards are capable of scoring on a regular basis and has told them to follow Cook’s example.
“Cookie is Cookie,” Keates said.
“The fans have adhered to him and seen what he is about. But a few people were questioning him when he wasn’t getting his goals.
“There was never any doubt in my mind about bringing Cookie into the football club. He offers goals.
“Stats say his whole career he has scored more goals in the second half of the season than the first.
“Hopefully that’s going to continue this season.
“He has had the opportunity, is he the main striker at the moment? Yes because he is scoring goals.
“But the other lads have to take his example and challenge him for his place.”
With just one win in their last 10 games, Walsall fans have understandably grown frustrated with how the 2018/19 campaign has unfolded.
And after a disappointing few years, Keates says he fully understands their disappointment.
But he has urged supporters to stick with his team – with the boss adamant things will soon improve.
“From knowing the area, and coming back into it, there have been a lot of years where the club has been hard done by,” he said.
“They just missed out on promotion under Dean Smith. And it’s kind of gone downhill since.
“But you have to be consistent with what you do. We have to consolidate and then we have to take it forward.
“I still believe we can take it forward this season. There are 16 games left. It’s far from panic stations but we are well aware of the situation we are in.
“Everybody is staying together, and the best way we can please the fans is by working hard and getting results.
“They work hard, they pay their money to come and see us and they want results. That is where I am accountable.”