Salford boss Gary Bowyer hopes the experience in the Ammies’ squad will be the ace up their sleeve in the run-in after they kept their play-off bid on track with a 2-0 win at Walsall.
Ian Henderson’s 15th goal of the season put City in control against their lowly hosts after he charged down a clearance from goalkeeper Jack Rose, and Jordan Turnbull’s second-half header sealed victory.
Salford remain three points off the top seven with four games remaining and Bowyer highlighted the importance of players like Henderson, still banging in the goals at 36.
“Full credit to Ian in how he looks after himself and conducts himself – when you’ve got someone at his age doing that, it rubs off,” said Bowyer.
“People will say it’s a goalkeeping error but not for me, it’s a brilliant goal from a striker willing to go and close him down – he gets a little bit lucky but I’d say he earned that.
“I try to pass on that little bit of experience to the lads and hopefully they take that on board but we’ve got an experienced dressing room in there.
“We spoke today about what some of the lads have achieved in their careers already and they play a part in passing that experience and knowledge on, and even more so when the game is under way.
“I thought to a man we were outstanding tonight in terms of our workrate, effort, energy, fitness levels and that was typified in the first goal, a brilliant goal.”
Walsall, meanwhile, secured safety barring a mathematical miracle despite defeat as other results went their way but only Josh Gordon and Caolan Lavery forced Vaclay Hladky into saves of note.
And the timid manner of the defeat caused interim boss Brian Dutton to question his players’ motivations.
“I was boiling up inside after that performance. That wasn’t a representation of me and it wasn’t a representation of Walsall Football Club,” fumed Dutton.
“We’ve given away sloppy goals. The first one, a massive defensive error and I think the second one was offside but we were still too deep.
“We’ve been outfought, outbattled, outwitted and showed no character in our personality in possession.
“It is a horrible position as a coach or a manager because we are at the stage now where agents are on the phone to other clubs and they are lining deals up.
“We don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. Maybe players have already got themselves fixed up. Who knows, it’s a horrible time.
“We are now in a position where we can’t be relegated and for guys to put in performances, they’ve got to have a sense of personal pride. That comes from within.”