Rochdale (H) 2nd Feb, 3pm


Not being sarcy, but how’s this for a few ideas of how we might better get results. Employ wingers to get the ball over to our in form striker, instead of talking about doing it in the E and S, actually do it. That in turn means having midfielders that can retain and use the ball, which I think Kinsella and Dobson are capable of. In terms of defending, first and foremost we need defenders that can defend their own 18 yard box, that means heading and kicking the ball away, marking properly and tracking attackers. Failure to do those things is costing us time and time again, especially from set-pieces. Goal from a corner yesterday, two v Plymouth, one v Peteborough, and the last minute one v Luton (albeit it from the third or fourth “ball”). Opposition teams are always going to get a few corners and free kicks, if that’s all it takes to win against us then we’re in trouble.


Take your point.

My opinion is:

I don’t think Ferrier has it, he’s too obvious when he has his back to goal wants to fight players instead of bouncing off them, receiving the ball laying it off and spinning into space. Oteh looks like the striker I’ve been calling out for. Otherwise Cook and Gordon aren’t that type of striker so it’s one of the other.

We need to move the ball quicker from left to right to open up the spaces in the wide areas. Dobson has to play, he is the only player with the technical ability to do this.

I’m not sure we can play 2 out and out wingers because this can leave us exposed. I’d like to see a Joe Edwards type play on the right (played there for Yeovil). Balances out the midfield and allows a more direct winger on the opposite side. Edwards will also get in on the back post.

Kinsella has to come back in for his energy but one CM has to get into the box and create runs beyond the striker.

If we’re getting balls out wide our wingers have to be on the white lines. Zeli, Morris and Devlin in recent week have all tucked in when the RB had the ball. We need to be as wide as possible and allow the Full Backs to overlap.

If we’re getting the ball into the box, Cook and Oteh have to be on the move. We should commit 2 strikers, 1 CM and the opposite winger into the box at all times.


Yes agree with all of that. I think that midfield would work, and I would certainly have Oteh in ahead of Ferrier. I work with a QPR fan and he was amazed they’d let him go to us on loan.


I agree with SHROPS…the scapegoating of individual players on here is way over the top. Defending is a team matter and to be fair our last 3 losses (all 1-2) have come about because the opposition have scored 2 from very limited chances whilst we have only scored 1 from our chances. HOWEVER the team is not set up right and the wrong players are in the team. I would not go as far as the CITY IN POLAND and suggest we drop Cook …that would be madness but we do need more in midfield. Even Osbourne in the programme yesterday said. how difficult it is playing 4-4-2 when the opposition has 3 or even 4 in midfield. The diamond worked well for us in some matches over Christmas with Gordon behind Cook…perhaps it is worth trying that with Oteh in the No 10 position. In any event Dobson and Kinsella and Edwards must be fitted in somewhere.They are our best midfielders and on their day would give any team something to think about.


This is where you don’t understand it if you weren’t there. A few people are questioning his ability at this time which is fair enough. There were no chants of Keates out or anything like that, a few moans and groans but nothing out of the ordinary. Don’t take a few posts on a forum as the fanbase going into ‘panic mode’.


Good post…don’t forget Edwards had his goalscoring run when he played on the left…that may also be an option.


Seems to be a model of false equivalency going on here.

Of course it’s the shape that helps determine the sides defence. I don’t think anyone has argued otherwise.

But equally, are you seriously telling me a side wouldn’t improve without better players ?

Go and have a look at what Devlin does for the their second goal - and tell me that wouldnt be mitigated without a player with a football brain or any sort of positional sense.

It’s not one (Just single players), it’s not just the other (how team sets up) - it’s a perfect storm of the two. They interact.


Scapegoating is a bit strong IMO. We should be starting on the front foot against a bang out of form Rochdale at home. Keates had plenty of options on the right side of midfield yesterday. Edwards, as has been suggested, and two wingers both of whom he signed. He chose to play a player in Devlin, that he clearly doesn’t think is his best option at right full back. I like Devlin, in fact I like all the Walsall players!! But what’s that got to do with it? The midfield to me sets the tempo, whether it be the likes of Kinsella ratting around, Dobson carrying the ball foward, or players getting down the flanks. That midfield 4 yesterday was never going to get us on the front foot and get us control of the game, never in a million years. We seem to be picking a midfield to protect a poor defence. That doesn’t really make the defence any better, and restricts our attacking threat, totally the wrong approach for me.


I see you blame Devlin for the goal when actually he puts pressure on Camps, the ball get played out to the Delaney the full back and Hamilton drifts off Edwards. Then again we’re playing against 1 additional CM. Hamilton got between the lines to run directly at the defence at pace squaring Norman up and going on his inside. Hamilton should have been tracked so Delaney couldnt play the pass through to him. Again a fault of the set up that we’re outnumbered in the middle. I’d expect, having 2 strikers that one of them put pressure on either Camps as the sitting CM or the full back.


Spot on, we are setting up defensively and still conceding goals, that in itself is criminal!


Well, for me change to zonal marking (not man marking) was a reaction to one goal lost against Plymouth. Johnson lost his player, was pushed before, but ref hasn’t seen it. Ok, it happens, I can accept it. But it was very brave, and very risky at the same time, to introduce new system how team should defend. Sorry, but this is league one and zonal marking could be too difficult to grasp. It require players who have to stop reacting, when ball is in another zone of field. Their only task is to control own zone and nothing more. When this system was trained and players know what to do, everything looks ok. If one element fails, everything can and will fall apart.

Manager’s fault? At least he tries to improve what he thinks not working. But at the same time he can and will make some mistakes. That’s ok, when team is not fighting against relegation. It is called learning process then. But when is fighting, it is risky. But I noticed recently one thing I don’t like. Two players for every position idea. In Premier League you can say ok, let’s do this. In League One I would be more happy to have few players above average level (2-4 let’s say) and average rest to complete squad. I don’t think any club from this league can have so big budget to have 22 similar players on contracts. Sooner 22 average players, so average results, average league position and average, if any, cup runs. I know who would be happy. The man whose rent, erm, name can’t be spoken. Sorry, but I don’t like average. Football is about improving. Team, players, backroom staff and so on and on. It’s never-ending story, because there should always be something to improve.

So, how team can improve? It’s time for bold decisions. New midfield (Dobson-Kinsella pair in the middle), new defence (I told it once, Scarr-Johnson or Fitzwater-second player), maybe new attack (Oteh-Gordon is another idea, similar to Cook-Oteh or Gordon). Relegation zone is closer, than we think. New players can’t join the team, so time for new ideas. It’s no risk, cause with current form team is going down. But new ideas can change this trajectory.


It’s incredible that people don’t see it. Fair enough, on first viewing of that goal, I thought Devlin was at fault but, as you say, he’s not at all, it’s the set up that leaves us a man down and an opponent free to run at us. I saw people blaming Norman as well - nope, it was almost impossible for him once their man had got his speed up. Time and time again it’s our defensive set up as a team that’s letting us down. Yes there are individual errors added in there but they wouldn’t be so ruthlessly exploited if we set up correctly.


I always like what you say Michal, you talk sense. You’re right in thinking that more players doesn’t equal success, especially if those players are, as you say, average. We needed quality not numbers.


They can’t be classed as individual errors when you see the circumstances which have forced the errors.

Of course the other team have watched us and found our weaknesses and tried to exploit them. Overloading midfield would be the first thing I’d do against us.


The shortest way to get quality is to loan someone, but recently quantity replaced quality. This could be problem. There won’t be easy return from league below.


And as most teams do… attack the wings. Why? Because the players are awful and our weak links.


Or because we tuck the full backs in and invite crosses. Are you sayin Norman isn’t good enough?

Funnily enough Rochdales game play had nothing to do with players running at the FB’s. Their wide player Dooley spent most of the game finding space between CM and CB’s. As did Hamilton from midfield.


If you can’t see that Devlin lack of tracking back of positional awareness was a factor in the goal yesterday then there is no hope.


Is it because he’s Scottish?


It’s because he talks to people a bit on twitter and Instagram - for some reason people are blinded by this.

He’s one of the worst players I have seen in Walsall shirt in the last ten years.

Heart - yes. Determination - yes.

Anything representative of a league one full back? Absolutely not.