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15 December 2015

Defender praises in-form teammate...

Walsall centre-back James O’Connor has hailed playmaker Romaine Sawyers as "one of the best players" he has ever played with.

Attacking midfielder Sawyers has been in sparkling form this season and is our joint-second top scorer with six goals in 26 league and cup appearances.

The 24-year-old has also provided nine assists – the most of any player in League One.

And O’Connor, who played in the Championship with Doncaster and Derby, has heaped praise on his in-form teammate.

“With each week that goes past he gets better,” said the experienced central defender.

“The biggest compliment I can give him is that a few months ago I had to pick my best five-a-side team. But if I had picked it a few weeks later he would have been in it. “That is how well he has been playing this year.

“He is getting a lot more plaudits because he is getting assists and goals as well.

“But ever since he came to the club he has had the ability – it’s just he is really starting to show it now.

“The consistency is there and he has got the potential to go as high as he wants.

“I think he is one of the best players I have played with in my career.

“His understanding of the game is something that people often don’t see and he can dictate a game from different areas of the pitch.

“He’s a great talent to have.”

The Saddlers will be hoping Sawyers can produce his best form this evening when Chesterfield visit the Banks’s for an FA Cup second-round replay.

Awaiting the winners are Championship play-off hopefuls Brentford, whose manager Dean Smith joined the Bees from Walsall, a fortnight ago.

And O’Connor admits the possibility of facing their former boss has given the players an ‘extra incentive’ to win tonight.

“When the third round draw was made, the Whatsapp group with the lads went a bit mad,” he said. “It was fate really, these things seem to happen in the FA Cup.

“It is an extra incentive to get past Chesterfield and if we do that then it will be one we are looking forward to and I’m sure the fans will as well.

“To come up against your old gaffer is something special, especially so quickly after he moved on.”

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