Avoid final-day 'monster' game drama, says James Bolton of possible relegation face-off with Walsall
James Bolton hopes Shrewsbury’s League One survival is wrapped up before a ‘monster’ final day clash with rivals Walsall.
The popular defender has experienced feisty meetings with the Saddlers and remembers the bitterness.
Fans have eyed up the fixture all season long as a possibility to condemn their rivals to relegation and a place in League Two.
Bolton netted the opener at Gillingham in Town’s crucial win on Saturday – his first league goal of the season. He hopes Sam Ricketts’ side do enough to avoid their League One status hanging in the balance in the May 4 curtain-closer.
“I hope it doesn’t because that will be a monster of a game!” Bolton said.
“Let’s just cross our fingers that it doesn’t because that will be a massive one.
“It’d be better for everyone if we could go into it and enjoy it rather than thinking that anything could happen.
“Hopefully we get it all sorted before then mathematically.”
Bolton referenced a trip to the Banks’s Stadium in October 2017 when high-flying Shrews took around 1,600 away fans and secured a 1-1 draw.
“I remember last season at their place. We took a lot of fans, we didn’t play very well, and I remember thinking ‘this is alright, this’,” he added.
“It was a good game to play in. There’s definitely a bitterness between both teams. But hopefully we get safe before then.”
Town’s improved recent form has seen them take a large stride towards safety, having secured the 50-point mark in Kent on Saturday.
Managerless Walsall sacked Dean Keates a week ago and find themselves second-bottom after losing at out-of-sorts Accrington on Saturday, their sixth straight defeat.
The defender continued: “There’s still games before it.
“If we do alright we could be safe and the same for them if they win a couple of games.
“For an outsider it’d be great but for us we want to get safe and boxed off by then.”
Bolton, who was voted supporters’ man of the match for his all-action display at Gillingham, said last week he was keen to extend his stay at Shrewsbury beyond the expiration of his contract this summer.
The former non-league right-back has been solid and dependable for Shrewsbury over two seasons, where he has played more than 80 games.