Keates confident Walsall can deliver Pompey victory

Niko Kranjcar. Picture: Joe Gidden/ PA Images

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Dean Keates is confident Walsall can start their battle to avoid relegation with a victory over Pompey tomorrow (3pm).

The new boss took charge at the Bescot Stadium earlier this month, following the sacking of Jon Whitney.

Dean Keates.

Dean Keates.

His sole task is to keep the Saddlers in League One. They are 18th in the table but sit just two points above the drop zone.

Keates will be in the dugout for the first time against the Blues, after watching Walsall’s 3-0 defeat to Wigan from the stands last weekend.

The 39-year-old is expecting a tough game against Kenny Jackett’s troops but insists the Saddlers can deliver all three points.

‘From what I have seen, I’m confident we will stay up,’ Keates told the Express & Star.

‘They are honest. They work hard. Sometimes you go into a football club and wonder whether they are fit – but they are very fit.

‘I think maybe they are a little bit young. I think they have struggled on the leadership side.

‘But all being well, I can give them a little bit of structure and confidence.

‘I am confident the basics are there. I just need to get them organised. That is the minimum we can ask for at the moment.

‘It’s going to be a tough game. They are full of confidence.

‘But the players know what is at stake and what needs to be done for the football club.

‘There will be a good atmosphere. Portsmouth are a massive club and travel in numbers.

‘But we are at home. We are confident.

‘Our fans will be our 12th man and we are determined to start picking up results so we can stop looking over our shoulder.’