Martin O’Connor: Let's see your Walsall bottle
Interim boss Martin O’Connor says he will not pick players who haven’t got the bottle to play in Walsall’s final two games of the season.
There is a good chance the Saddlers will be relegated on Saturday with the team sat 23rd in the table, four points from safety.
To have any realistic chance of staying up, Walsall have to beat promotion-chasing Peterborough before then overcoming Shrewsbury at Montgomery Waters Meadow a week later.
But O’Connor’s men have now lost seven of their last eight games, with their only point in that run coming thanks to a stoppage-time penalty against Southend.
And the interim boss has told his players his door is open if they haven’t got the fight needed for the next two games.
“I’ll be there when we train, I’ll be there against Peterborough and I’ll be there against Shrewsbury,” O’Connor said.
“I think that’s the nature of me and I have to have a squad of players who feel the same.
“The door will be open this week for anyone who doesn’t fancy playing against Peterborough and anyone who doesn’t fancy playing against Shrewsbury.
“I’ll be honest, for me everyone should be wanting to play.
“If they don’t want to play they shouldn’t be at the football club.
“We are four points adrift with two games to go, we have got to put in performances.
“We’ve been saying that for how long.
“It’s come down to this situation and we have to be looking at ourselves.
“You can’t be blaming anyone else.
“We have to look at ourselves and try and put in a performance.”
Walsall’s last three games – against Accrington Stanley, Southend and Wycombe – represented a huge opportunity to climb away from danger with those sides also in the relegation mix.
“They are missed opportunities,” O’Connor admitted.
“We have said that after every game.
“This feeling has been coming for months. Two or three months.
“It’s the group of players we have got.
“They have been honest and they have said a few comments to me - which I accept.
“But what I can do is get a team out there on Saturday who hopefully will play without fear and try and get a result.”