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Stewart takes positives from Coventry shootout defeat

4 September 2019

Walsall Assistant Coach Marcus Stewart was in a positive mood despite the penalty shootout defeat to Coventry City in the Leasing.com Trophy.

The Saddlers played out a goalless draw against the League One side at St Andrews Trillion Trophy Stadium on Tuesday evening before losing 5-4 in the subsequent penalty shootout.

Stewart felt Walsall probably should have won the game in the 90 minutes but was impressed with the defensive display.

“Considering it was a make shift back four, especially the two centre-halves with Gary Liddle playing there for the first time with Zak Jules, Cameron Pring and Shay Facey coming in, I thought they did great and kept a good possession team in Coventry quiet,” said Stewart.

“We probably should have won, we made their goalkeeper make far more saves than ours did but they’re a new group who are still getting to know each other.

 “I thought we kept our shape really well and counter attacked quite well and looked the better team in terms of chances. It’s a great place to come, it’s Birmingham and Coventry’s playing here now and it’s a great occasion for our lads and there’s one or two that have come into the team and done great so at the moment while we’re not getting results, everything’s up for grabs.”

Another positive for Walsall was the return of Danny Guthrie to the starting XI. The midfielder returned from injury with a late substitute appearance against Grimsby Town on Saturday.

He managed to get an hour under his belt against the Sky Blues and Stewart feels he adds a lot to the Saddlers team but stressed the need for precaution with players coming back from injury.

 “Guthrie’s been injured for a few weeks so for him to get 60 minutes under his belt was great,” he commented.

“He adds value to the team being a senior lad and what he brings on the pitch with the ball at his feet.

“You can see his range of passing is brilliant so that will add value to our game.

“We have to be careful with them, especially as there’s another game on Saturday. Saturday to Saturday isn’t too bad but when it’s Tuesday to Saturday, you’ve got to be really careful, especially if you’re travelling like we are down to Colchester.”

Saddlers fans also got a glimpse of new striker Rory Gaffney, who came on after 67 minutes and Stewart believes he’ll bring a lot of positives to the team.

“Rory’s a great character in the dressing room, he’s a great trainer and brings that experience and know-how which in terms of when we need to score a goal and create something so he will definitely bring that,” Stewart said.

Walsall now turn their attentions to Saturday’s trip to Colchester United in Sky Bet League Two.


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