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Walsall defenders impress Dean Keates

Boss Dean Keates was full of praise for his centre-backs after Walsall secured only their seventh clean sheet of the campaign at Burton.

The Saddlers should have made it back-to-backs win in League One but were forced to settle for just a point after being held to a goalless draw at the Pirelli on Saturday.

Matt Jarvis rattled the side-netting while keeper Bradley Collins produced an outstanding save to keep out a Josh Gordon header in a second half dominated by Keates’ men.

But while he was disappointed not to win the game, the boss was delighted, with his team’s solid defensive display with centre-backs Jon Guthrie and Dan Scarr catching the eye.

“I thought both the centre-backs were outstanding,” Keates said. “I left Jon out two games go but I’ve had a response. He was outstanding against Bradford and he built on that against Burton.

“Dan Scarr is new to the club and hadn’t played a lot of football at Birmingham – only under-23s football.

“But it has always been a case of putting in building blocks in place for him, allowing him time to settle into the football club. He has got stronger with every performance.

“All the back four and Robbo as well (goalkeeper Liam Roberts) were outstanding at Burton. Everything they had to do, they did well.”

Following the weekend’s results, Walsall now sit 20th in League One, just two points above the drop zone.

But their draw has also led to a host of other teams being dragged into the relegation scrap – with the Saddlers incredibly sitting just two points behind 13th-placed Southend.

“At the minute the table is not nice to look at,” Keates admitted.

“There is no denying the position we are in. But if you look just above us there are a good eight or nine teams in it now.

“If we perform like did at Burton, in that second half especially, we will go in the right direction.”