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Club News


23 December 2015

The Saddlers have three matches over the festive period...

Walsall are set to play three games in just eight days – but head coach Sean O’Driscoll insists his players can cope with the busy festive schedule.

The Saddlers face a Boxing Day trip to Millwall and then host Peterborough just two days later, before playing Rochdale on 2nd January.

But O’Driscoll, who celebrated his first match in charge with a 2-0 victory over Port Vale, says footballers are used to a hectic routine.

“I don’t actually think the fixture congestion is the problem,” he admitted.

“The season is congested anyway, you get on a good cup run and you play a lot of games.

“I just think it’s a holiday season that’s the big thing for the players. I always thought that when I was a player.

“In some senses, players don’t mind training on Christmas Day because of routine. It’s just that the rest of the country is in holiday mode - that’s the problem.

“If we did have a winter break, I’d do it for that reason, more so than needing a rest it would be so they could enjoy the break.

“But it’s football and everybody likes to watch football at this time of the year and players in some senses like to play.”

Next up for the Saddlers is a trip to The Den and a tricky fixture against Neil Harris’ Millwall.

The Lions are currently 11th in League One and targeting an immediate return to the Championship following last season’s relegation.

“It’s not easy to bounce back,” said O’Driscoll.

“There’s an expectation and a massive gap between League One and the Championship, just from a financial point of view.

“The tendency for players, and I don’t think they do this consciously, is to think that it might be a little bit easier. They either fly or it gets a bit bitty.

“But it’s always a difficult place to go is Millwall. This is a Championship club in all but where they are in the League structure.

“It would be nice if it was a little bit nearer, I think for everybody – especially on Boxing Day.

“We go there on the back of a good performance and a good win, so we’ll try and set our stall out to be especially hard to beat.”

O’Driscoll confirmed that Tom Bradshaw and Rico Henry could both feature against Millwall after missing the last few matches with ankle injuries.

“Tom has an outside chance,” O’Driscoll added.

“His scan results were nothing serious in the sense that there was just a bit of wear and tear.

“Whether or not we risk him, that’s the big decision.

"Rico is the same – there is nothing really serious that we think will be a long-term problem. It’s just whether you risk him with two games in three days.”

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