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Taylor hoping Saddlers can inspire against Rochdale

19 November 2021

Club News

Taylor hoping Saddlers can inspire against Rochdale

19 November 2021

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor hopes his players will grasp the opportunity to inspire the young supporters attending tomorrow’s match against Rochdale.

As part of the Community Programme’s School Partners scheme, 1600+ young supporters will be at the Banks’s Stadium with a bumper crowd expected.

The Saddlers will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Harrogate Town and Taylor is keen to see a reaction from his players as they look to not only get back on track in Sky Bet League Two, but to also strengthen the club’s relationship with local schools and inspire the next generation of fans.

“It will be good for the players first and foremost because it’s not often, other than when we played Aston Villa, that all four sides of the ground were filled,” Taylor said.

“It’s also an important time for the football club to strengthen its relationships with local children and local schools. I think the initiative is fantastic, I for one back it and anything we can do as staff and a group of players to really cement that relationship is important.

“We’ve also got an opportunity to enthuse a group of people and young children who maybe haven’t been to a football game or haven’t been to the Banks’s Stadium. It also coincides really well with the half season tickets so it’s great for everybody.

“What we’ve got to do is perform for all the fans that come, not just the fact that we’ve got more fans in the stadium than we would do normally but also the ones that come and support us week in, week out, they’re going to demand a reaction and a performance but what an opportunity for the players to go and play in front of a bumper crowd and if that isn’t enough to really motivate them, I’d be really surprised.”

Rochdale visit the Banks’s Stadium on the back of a five-match unbeaten run in the league and FA Cup progress after victory over Notts County in a replay earlier this week and Taylor expects a different kind of challenge to the one Harrogate provided last weekend.

“They try and play the game in the right way, they’re expansive in possession but really compact and narrow out of possession so it’s going to be a tough game to us,” he commented.

“It will be a different test to Harrogate because they play a different style of football but that doesn’t alter a huge amount of what we do and the reason I say that is not in any disrespectful manner to the opposition, it’s the fact that first and foremost, we have to concentrate on ourselves and that comes from work on the training pitch, work in the analysis room and it comes through conversations.

“The players are ready for the game, the players understand what’s required, they understand the opposition that we’re coming up against, their strengths, their weaknesses and areas we feel that we can really threaten but it’s all underpinned by one thing and that one thing has got to be hard work, desire, determination and eagerness to get to the ball first.

“If we do that, we know we’ve got good players and we’ve shown that for large periods but we need to get back to understanding what underpins everything and that’s the basics of football – that’s running and if we do that, I’m sure that we’ve got enough quality on the pitch to make sure that we give the best chance of getting a positive result.”

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