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O'Connor's sole focus on League One survival

9 April 2019

Interim Manager Martin O’Connor insists his sole focus is on League One survival, starting this weekend with the Saddlers’ crucial trip to relegation rivals Accrington Stanley.

O’Connor will take charge of the Saddlers for the final five games following Dean Keates’ dismissal on Saturday evening.

Speaking for the first time since his appointment, the 51 year-old revealed he is looking forward to meeting the challenge head on.

“We need to stick together now and we need 11 players going out there giving everything for this football club,” said O’Connor.

“Unfortunately, results haven’t gone our way. Performances have improved in my opinion but results haven’t.

“The last two games has seen us play with a lack of confidence and ultimately you get what you deserve in football matches and if you don’t deserve anything then you don’t get it.

“We  know what is required moving forward. We know what is required for the next five games. It’s not about the next five games though, it is all about the next game and that is Accrington.

“At this moment in time, I am not looking at any other game other than Accrington.

“The fans deserve a good performance. The way I can affect the team is by selecting an 11 that go out there and give their all for this club."

O’Connor took the reins yesterday and explained that, as well as speaking to former manager and teammate Keates, who brought the former Saddlers captain back to the Banks’s as part of the coaching team, he has also had a long chat with the current group of players and been pleased with their response.

“I have spoken to Dean (Keates) and, while he brought me in, we both agreed that if I had the opportunity to take this team, it was one I had to take," he commented.

“We have had a long chat with the players and they have trained hard and have trained really well.

“I am looking forward to seeing the competitiveness in the build up to the game on Saturday and in the game on Saturday.

“Hopefully I can transfer that to the players because they need to look forward to the game as well.

“I know that fans aren’t happy with the position we are in the league at the moment.

“I would be the same if I paid my hard-earned money but what we have got to do now is give something back to them. The only way I can do that, and the players can do that, is to perform.

“If the performance levels are good enough then we will get the win we so desperately need. If they aren’t, then we won’t get the result. It’s as simple as that.

“People complicate football too much. Yes, you have got to show passion and desire but you have got to have a controlled element as well and I have learned that since I have finished playing.

“I have learned to be more controlled. I am still passionate and I still have plenty of desire and I want my players to have that.

“In the game against Accrington, I want the performance from the players to be a Martin O’Connor performance - a Walsall FC performance.”


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