Scunthorpe loanee hoping to shore up Saddlers' backline...
Left-back Scott Laird is confident his League One experience can help shore up the Saddlers’ leaky defence.
The 28-year-old is set to make his Walsall debut at Northampton tomorrow after joining the club on loan from Scunthorpe on transfer deadline day.
A seasoned campaigner, Laird has made over 400 career appearances and played in the third-tier for parent club Scunthorpe, Stevenage and Preston, with whom he won promotion in 2014/15.
The Saddlers have struggled defensively this term, shipping 12 goals in seven league and cup matches, including three in our last league outing against Bury.
Walsall squandered a 3-0 lead in that game, but Laird feels he has the know-how to help his new team improve at the back.
“The gaffer wants me to help the younger lads and guide them through certain situations - Bury, for example, being 3-0 up to 3-3,” said Laird.
“They’re very young and maybe some of them hadn’t experienced that situation yet and they don’t know how to handle those type of games.
“You knew that Bury were going to get a rollicking at half-time and come out at 100mph.
“Maybe we needed to ride the storm a little bit and see out the first 10-15 minutes, and then push on for a fourth. I’ve been around the game for 12 years, played over 400 games, and I’ve seen that before.
“I’ve been on the end of it before – 3-0 up to 3-3, even losing 4-3 – so I know those situations, and hopefully I can be a cool head, calm the lads down and help see the result through.
“As I’ve got older, I’ve figured there is more than one way to skin a cat. You have to be a bit savvy. There are different ways of winning games; sometimes you can play total football but in others you need to be hard and ugly, manage the game and waste time.
“As a football fan, you don’t want to see that, but sometimes you’ve got to win ugly because this business is about winning.”
The former Plymouth youngster has been with the Saddlers just over a week and says he has settled in well.
“It’s always a little bit nerve-wracking, a little bit of going into the unknown when you’re joining a new team, but they’ve made my first week really easy,” he added.
“They’re a great bunch, very young and enthusiastic. They keep you on your toes. I’m not an oldie – I’m only 28 – so I’m in my prime but they’re keeping me quite young.
“They’re a good bunch, and when the training starts they’re very professional.”