Departing legend Walker believes Saddlers can break into top six
By MBeardmore | Thursday, February 14, 2013, 16:26
LEGENDARY Saddlers keeper Jimmy Walker left the club with a heavy heart last week – but admits he's dreaming of a reunion at Wembley in May.
Jimmy Walker believes Walsall can make the top six. Picture by Rob Ellis
Record appearance holder Walker left the Banks's Stadium by mutual consent last Thursday after his player/coach role did not work out as hoped this season.
However, the veteran stopper – who has not yet retired but may do so this summer – believes Walsall can gatecrash the play-offs and make him rue his decision to leave.
Walker told Advertiser Sport: "I'd have loved to play at Wembley – when we got to the play-off final (in 2001) the Millennium Stadium was brilliant. I've played there twice in my career and been involved on the bench another time, but not at Wembley.
"We narrowly missed out on it a couple of times in the Auto Windscreens – and I'd love nothing better than to be at Wembley in May and watch the lads there make me upset about my decision to leave!
"We were probably favourites for relegation at the start of the season and the gaffer (Dean Smith) has to take a hell of a lot of credit.
"He's overhauled the squad in the summer, when the wage bill was cut, he had a few young lads at the club already and he brought in a few more.
"Dean will probably be the first to admit that every one in that squad has probably done as well as they possibly could.
"It's been a great season so far and now they are up there in the top half, the pressure is off and you never know what can happen.
"I mean, to go up to Doncaster last weekend and get a well-deserved win, it shows they have nothing to fear in the league, so I believe they can do it."
Midweek results went against the Saddlers, widening the gap to the top six to seven points, a deficit they will hope to narrow when they host out-of-form Notts County on Saturday.
Right-back Ben Purkiss is an injury doubt for the Saddlers for that game, while keeper Ian McLoughlin's loan spell is up after the match but Walsall are hopeful of extending it.