Winger relishing Blues clash...WALSALL winger Milan Lalkovic insists he has “nothing to prove” ahead of tomorrow night’s League Cup glamour tie with holders Chelsea – the club that released him 16 months ago.
The Slovakian attacker moved to Stamford Bridge aged 13 and spent eight years on the Blues’ books, featuring regularly for their youth team.
However, Lalkovic never played for Chelsea’s senior side and was loaned out to Doncaster, Dutch side ADO Den Haag, Portugal’s Vitoria de Guimaraes and Walsall before being let go in May 2014.
He then joined Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Republic, and had a short stint at Barnsley prior to returning to the Banks’s in the summer.
And speaking ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly-awaited Capital One Cup third round tie, the 23-year-old admits he is relishing the prospect of facing his old club.
“It was nearly the perfect draw!” said Lalkovic, who still supports Chelsea.
“I was hoping we would get them away, but maybe it’s good for us that we’ve got them at home because it would have been more difficult at Stamford Bridge.
“I have good memories of my time there. It just didn’t work out, unfortunately.
“But I have nothing to prove to them.
“It’s in the past and it’s about me being a Walsall player. Playing against Chelsea is a little bit different because I grew up there and became a man there, but I haven’t got anything to prove.
“I’m just going to enjoy the occasion and play as well as I can.
“We’re not under any pressure. We have to make it as hard as we can for them.”
Lalkovic only worked briefly with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, taking part in just a couple of his first-team training sessions.
Now back in the West Midlands, the fans' favourite is enjoying his football under Saddlers boss Dean Smith, who is affectionately dubbed the ‘Ginger Mourinho' by supporters.
“He knows how to work with me and how to get the best out of me,” said Lalkovic.
“I can’t compare the two (Mourinho and Smith) because I never really worked under Jose.
“But this guy (Smith) means a lot to me.
“He wants to help me reach my potential.”