Chris Marsh: Whoever wins, I won’t know what to think
From the moment I first started playing football, I’ve always loved the buzz and excitement that surrounds a match day.
But Saturday’s game between Coventry and Walsall is one I’m not looking forward to.
As regular readers of this column will know, I now work for Cov and I’m loving every minute of it.
But that puts me in a very difficult position.
I’m looking forward to being able to watch the Saddlers in the flesh as it’s been a while – now I have to catch all the games on the computer.
And I’m looking forward to seeing my mate Keatesy and having a good catch-up.
But he desperately needs to win the game. And Coventry need to win it too because it’s all about getting to that 52-point mark as quickly as possible.
I couldn’t believe my eyes the other night when AFC Wimbledon left the Banks’s Stadium with a 1-0 win.
And I was surprised by Keatesy’s comments post-match.
He admitted the team is in freefall and that they are now favourites for relegation.
One of Keatesy’s biggest strengths is that he is so honest. He has always been a man to say how it is and that is honourable.
But I did wonder if that was a little too honest. And I wonder if Keatesy the player would have said the same thing.
He was such a little terrier, he never shirked anything. He was a warrior.
But for me, Keatesy the player would be saying ‘We aren’t finished here’. I think he would have been more upbeat.
I don’t want to knock him and to his credit, he is just being a realist. But I still found it surprising.
What really strikes me about the team at the minute is the lack of leadership on the field.
It really is incredible the amount of goals Walsall have conceded either in the opening 10 minutes of the first half or the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
That is a mentality thing. It’s hunger, desire and nous.
And you have to remember what Keatesy was brought up with.
Look at the team we played in. We had the likes of Richard Green, Neil Pointon, Adi Viveash, Andy Rammell, Jimmy Walker.
Earlier in my career, I played with David Kelly, Willie Naughton, Mark Rees.
They were proper men, senior professionals who had seen it, done it and got the T-shirt.
Back then, when there was a problem in the dressing room, they would sort it out themselves.
There were fights in training every single day, but 24 hours later everyone was best mates again.
It’s obviously not like that anymore. But these guys were tough and up for the battle.
Players now are more professional, they are fitter and stronger. They eat and drink better. They are athletes.
But they don’t have the same siege mentality. We felt like we were in the trenches.
To me, that is what this Walsall team is missing – more seasoned pros. But if you look across football now, they are a dying breed.
I don’t know how they are going to do it, but Walsall’s players now need to dig deep and find the character required to grind out results.
It’s going to be an interesting weekend. The Saddlers have beaten Cov twice this season so they should draw on that.
But the Coventry players will be desperate for revenge.
It’s a big, big game and it could go either way.
All I know is – at full-time – I’m not going to know what to think!