James O'Connor: Walsall will 'stick together', says Saddlers defender

James O'Connor
James O'Connor joined Walsall from Championship side Derby County last summer

Walsall defender James O'Connor insists that the Saddlers can "stick together" to beat off the growing threat of relegation to League Two.

A run of just one win in nine League One games has left Walsall in jeopardy, just three points clear of trouble.

"We've eight big games coming up," said O'Connor. "We need to move on and get ourselves safe as quick as possible.

"There's a lot of frustration and a lot of anger in the dressing room but we look like a team who stick together."

Walsall's "frustration" and "anger" comes in the wake of the Saddlers' sub-par performance against League One leaders Bristol City in last Sunday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley.

All change at Bescot
Having been just two points off the play-off pack on 10 February, Walsall's only win in nine League One games has been a 1-0 triumph at Yeovil on 3 March, to leave them just three points clear of the relegation zone

Former Aston Villa trainee O'Connor, an unused substitute after being dropped at Wembley, was one of the most frustrated players in the Saddlers squad.

But, like on-loan team-mate Michael Cain, who apologised for an ill-advised post-match tweet, 30-year-old O'Connor admits that he has also now cleared the air with boss Dean Smith.

"There were a few things said last week that were completely wrong and offended me," said O'Connor, who went straight back into the side for Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Chesterfield.

"Going home to your family after being left out of a cup final is hard and to see rumours about me made me upset.

"I saw the gaffer and asked if I could clear it up but he did it himself which was the right thing for him to do," he told BBC WM 95.6..

"I've got too much respect for my team-mates to think I'm above anyone else and it's gone now, in my eyes.

"It was all cleared up and I acted like a professional, as I have done since I've been here and throughout my whole career."

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