Walsall v Doncaster Rovers: The Opposition View

Walsall boss Dean Keates
Walsall boss Dean Keates

Walsall have proved to be one of the real surprise packages so far in this League One campaign.

The Saddlers remain unbeaten in the league as they welcome a Rovers side that have hardly enjoyed their recent visits to the Bescot Stadium.

We spoke to Walsall writer Joe Masi of the Express and Star to get the lowdown on their excellent start to the season.

Q: What have been the reasons for the brilliant start to the season?

JM: Putting it simply: organisation.

Everyone knows their job, they’re really well drilled and it’s a very strong unit.

They have only kept one clean sheet so far but they are scoring goals and look a real threat.

They have counterattacked really well with Morgan Ferrier playing off the shoulder

 It’s been very good so far and the organisation suggests they can keep it up.

Q: How is Dean Keates perceived? It seemed to be a tough start for him but he has turned it around.

JM: He was always going to be a popular appointment because he’s a club legend.

He'd have been given plenty of time regardless but he hasn’t needed it.

Results weren’t great at first but he instantly got them much better organised.

The problem was that they weren’t scoring enough goals and it was hurting them.

He’s solved that issue now and it’s going really well.

Q: What system and style of play does Keates favour?

JM: It is about as close to an old school 4-4-2 as you get nowadays.

Pacy wingers, a big man and a little man up front.

But it works really well because everyone knows what they are doing and really complement each other. 

He has gone with slightly different systems on occasion but the 4-4-2 is definitely what he prefers.

Q: Who are the dangermen?

JM: Morgan Ferrier has been superb since signing from Boreham Wood.

He is very direct, very quick and will shoot whenever he gets the opportunity.

Some of the runs he makes, the space he finds and the movement are well beyond this level.

Andy Cook is doing really well also. He’s a big target man in the James Hanson mould.

Cook and Ferrier work so well together and are always a threat. Both like to get their shots away as soon as the opportunity arises.