Walsall: Ben Purkiss aims to win back regular Saddlers place

Ben Purkiss

Walsall defender Ben Purkiss says he has to keep believing he can make a difference in order to win back a regular place in the side.

The 29-year-old was a regular for the Saddlers last season, but only made his first start of 2013-14 at Leyton Orient in Saturday's FA Cup second-round tie.

"When you come in not only do you do as well as those before, but you step it up a level," he told BBC WM.

"Everyone on the bench has to believe they can make the team better."

Purkiss joined Walsall on a free transfer from Hereford United in May 2012 after a seven-month stay at Edgar Street.

After making 30 appearances in his first season, he has had to be patient during the current campaign with Mal Benning and, more recently, James Chambers filling the right-back position.

"There's a lot of strength and depth this year and it's up to everyone to keep plugging away and be ready when they come in and get the opportunity, " Purkiss said.

"The performances from the back four as a whole have been good. We've been nice and tight and not conceded many goals."

Walsall's defence is among the best in League One with only the top three in the division - Leyton Orient, Wolves and Preston - having conceded fewer than their 18 goals against.

It is at the other end where Dean Smith's side is in need of a boost with only nine goals scored at home - the joint worst in League One.

And Purkiss is aware they need a more consistent record if they are to close the four-point gap to the play-off places.

"If you look at our results, we've had a couple of games where we've scored three, where we have taken the chances," he added.

"We probably need a more even spread and I don't know how you improve on that other than working on finishing, but they do that.

"You need a variety of goals and hopefully one or two will grow and pick up a bit and we can contribute from all round the pitch."