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Club News


1 October 2015

Walsall have the tightest defence in the division...

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge believes Walsall’s impressive defensive record is down to a solid collective effort.

The Saddlers have the meanest defence in League One, having conceded only six goals in ten matches.

Dean Smith’s men have also kept a joint-league high of four clean sheets – including one at Scunthorpe on Tuesday evening.

Etheridge has contributed significantly to that record – but insists those in front of him must also take credit.

"It’s nice to keep clean sheets for the team,” said Etheridge, who was speaking after our 1-0 win against the Iron.

“But it’s not just me. I only made one save and collected a few crosses (against Scunthorpe).

“The boys in front of me have done fantastically all over the field – it’s been a great collective effort.

“We work very hard on the training ground on defensive shape.

“I’ve got a back three or a back four that know I’m going to come for crosses and I try to help them out as much as I can. We’ve got a great understanding and have had a fair few clean sheets this season.

“With the goals we’ve conceded, collectively or individually we’ve held our hands up and rectified them for the next games.

“We all get along very well off the field and it shows on it.”

Rico Henry’s first-half goal sealed a gritty win at Glanford Park and moved the Saddlers to within one point of leaders Burton.

"We scored relatively early and defended for the majority of the second half,” said Etheridge.

“We knew Scunthorpe would come out and look to put pressure on us after half-time. They had a few corners in the first couple of minutes but we dealt with them very well.

"It showed that we’re able to score goals and see out games in the right manner.

“If we want to be up there at the end of the season, then we’ve got to go away to places and do what we did at Scunthorpe.

“There’s belief in the group but we’re very grounded as individuals and collectively as a team.

“We know it’s a long season and none of the boys get ahead of themselves - we just take each game as it comes.”

Walsall are on the road again this weekend with a tricky trip to Wigan.

“Every game is hard in this league,” said Etheridge.

“We went to Rochdale and got a result, and we had Coventry at home – they were flying at the time – and we got a result there.

“No team is going to make it easy for us.

“We need to keep pushing ourselves and build on every performance game by game.”

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