Saddlers targeting fourth straight win...“Consistency is the key” – that is the message from Walsall manager, Dean Smith, ahead of this afternoon’s top-of-the-table clash with leaders Coventry at the Banks’s Stadium.
The Saddlers are third in League Oneand seeking a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, following impressive away wins against Nottingham Forest (Cup), Southend and Rochdale.
A large crowd is expected for this West Midlands derby – and Smith is hoping to build on an encouraging start to the season with a first win in front of our home fans.
“We’ve got off to a good start and we have to maintain that now,” said Smith.“We’ve always said that consistency is the key. I can’t believe we’re only 14 days into the season because it feels like a month!
“We’ve responded well in the past to big match atmospheres but saying that, they came here last season and turned us over 2-0. We certainly don’t want a repeat of that this year.
“They’ve got a lot of good players there, we’ll have to be at our best but it makes for a really good game. With the way both teams have started, it
probably makes it a little bit more interesting than normal.”
Walsall will go top of League One if they beat Coventry and second-placed Gillingham fail to win. However, Smith is more interested in recording three points than improving league position at this early stage of the season.
“The biggest motivating factor is that it’s the next game and we want to win it,” said Smith. “We want to set our stall out at the start of the season and show people what we’re about.
“The fact it’s third versus first isn’t significant; there are 43 games to go so there are a lot of points to play for. The biggest thing is that it’s the next game and there’s three points up for grabs.We believe we’ve got a lot of quality.”
It may only be early days in the 2015/16 campaign, but the Saddlers’ impressive form has, in some quarters, raised a few eyebrows.
“Hopefully, we can continue to surprise people,” commented Smith. “We’re competing in a league with the likes of Sheffield United, Coventry and Bradford, and for us to challenge these teams, like for like, is very difficult.
“We have to do things differently and I’d like to think that we do that - by the way we play, how disciplined we are, bringing young players through and being flexible in our systems.
“By being a bit different, hopefully that can lead to us being successful.”
With less than two weeks of the summer transfer window remaining, Smith is still hopeful of bringing in some fresh faces to boost his squad.
“We’ve got a couple of trialists in at the moment, they’ve been with us for five or six days and we’re having a good look at them,” said Smith. “I’ve been speaking to a club and I was hoping that something would be done this week. It’s involving a Premier League player who’s with their U21s, which takes a little longer.”