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Keates: FA Cup tie a 'good distraction'

4 January 2019

Dean Keates believes the Saddlers’ FA Cup third-round tie at Championship strugglers Bolton is a “good distraction” for his team.

The Saddlers have gone five games without a win since beating Sunderland 1-0 in a replay in the previous round.

And after recent indifferent performances, the boss feels a temporary break from league action could be a good thing.

“It’s a good distraction for us,” said Keates.

“We’ve had two half-decent performances – the Luton game and the one down at Charlton.

“There were a lot of positives to take out of them and in the second half at Charlton we were exceptional.

“But we need to make better decisions – individual errors have cost us and we need to eradicate them.

“This weekend it’s the FA Cup, the most famous cup in the world, and it’s a good distraction for us.

“The lads will keep plugging away and hopefully we can give the 1,000-plus fans going up there something to cheer about.”

Phil Parkinson’s Wanderers were thrashed 6-0 by Hull on New Year’s Day – and Keates is wary of a backlash.

“It’s not ideal for someone to get beat 6-0 and then you’ve got to go and play them next,” he added.

“They’ve got a wealth of experience throughout the team and they might feel they have a point to prove.

“They’re a big, strong team. They’ve got some big lads and hit you with diagonals.

“We’ve got to be prepared to be put under a lot of pressure and the lads have got to stand up and be counted on that side.”

Jack Fitzwater is unavailable having been recalled by West Brom for their FA Cup tie against Wigan, after which he will rejoin the Saddlers on loan until the end of the season.

“They want to have a look at him in their own environment,” Keates commented.

“That’s their choice – he’s their player and it’s his parent club.

“In the first few rounds of the FA Cup, he wasn’t available for us.

“He’ll be coming back to us on Monday, so we’ll prepare for this weekend without him.”


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