Midfielder pleased to be playing again...SADDLERS midfielder, Sam Mantom, is delighted to be back playing – and scoring – again after a “nightmare” season with injury in 2014/15.
The 23-year-old, who has been nominated for League One Player of the Month after scoring three goals in August, spent most of last term on the sidelines with a persistent knee problem.
Now back to full fitness, Mantom has featured in each of the Saddlers’ eight competitive matches this season – playing an instrumental role in helping us go top of League One.
And speaking ahead of Saturday’s match with Bury, the Stourbridge-born midfielder said he is relieved to have put his injury woes behind him.
“Last season was a nightmare,” said Mantom.
“It was awful not playing.
“I remember sitting in the stands watching every game pass by, and all you can do is go back in on a Monday and try to improve your injury.
“Some days I didn’t want to be here - but that’s all gone now.
“I had the intent in the summer to come back in great shape to give myself a chance to progress.
“I couldn’t be in a happier place at the minute - I’ve got no worries at all.
“Outside of football, life is brilliant as well.
“My main focus, though, is on Walsall and trying to help the team stay near the top of the league.”
A key feature of Mantom’s performances this season has been his willingness to get forward and take shots from distance.
He has scored three goals so far – against Southend, Rochdale and Blackpool – and is hoping for more.
“I’d like double figures,” said Mantom.
“At the start of the season I was aiming for five or six, but I’ve got out of August with three goals so the aim now is double figures.
“I said at the start that I needed to score more goals to improve my game.
“The new formation gives you the licence to get involved going forward and express yourself.
“It’s working well.”
Mantom and co will be hoping to maintain our unbeaten start to the league season at home to Bury this weekend.
The Shakers remain winless in 17th position, but have a good record in this fixture - losing only one of the previous ten meetings.
“They’ve got a strong squad and haven’t lost many games so it’ll be a tough one to pick up any points,” said Mantom.
“But we’re at home, full of confidence and will be looking to build on the Coventry win in our last home game.
“Hopefully we can give the fans something to shout about again, and maintain our superb start to the season.
“Everyone feels together at the moment and is pushing in the same direction.
“We couldn’t have started any better, but we need to keep this form up.”