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PRE MATCH | Matt Taylor expecting positive reaction

24 September 2021

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor is expecting a positive reaction from his players when they take on Bristol Rovers tomorrow afternoon.

The Saddlers will be aiming for four consecutive home victories and to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Newport County.

Taylor is also expecting a response from his former teammate Joey Barton’s side after their 3-1 defeat to Leyton Orient last weekend and with both teams in similar positions in the table, the Saddlers boss has stressed the importance of the match.

“We’ve got three valuable points to play for against Bristol Rovers who are in a similar position to us in the league, therefore it becomes and extremely important game,” he said.

“I expect the players to react in a positive manner. Competition for places has been fantastic, there are shirts up for grabs so we’ve asked the players to go and perform and train this week and show us coaches that they’re desperate to be in the team.

“I’m expecting a reaction (from Bristol Rovers) from their result last weekend. I know Joey well and I’ve played with Joey. I know he will demand his players to turn up and give a performance. They’re going to be well supported; they’ll have a lot of fans in our stadium and they’ll look at this as an opportunity to get a positive result but what’s important is that the focus has to remain on our team.

“I think we’re a good team, we just need to tidy up in areas where we’re not conceding goals and that’s the challenge for the players.

“We know that we’ll create opportunities on Saturday. Can we take those opportunities? Can we be more ruthless? We have to defend better in our box and it needs to mean more to the players.

“I would say our players are 100 per cent ready for the fixture coming up and if they go out there and perform, we’ve got every chance of taking three points.”

Walsall will be without Joss Labadie who will be serving the final game of his three-match ban.

Taylor also confirmed Liam Kinsella will be unavailable after he came off with an injury last weekend.

“Liam has unfortunately had a problem with his knee,” Taylor revealed.

“You always know it’s more sinister when there’s no one around him and there’s no contact. He’s now going in for a procedure so we’re going to lose him, we hope for a number of weeks as a pose to months. I know that Liam’s devastated because we were just starting to see the best of him this season but he will come back.

“What that does now is open and opportunity for someone else and what has to happen is that the player who is picked to replace Liam, takes the opportunity. That’s the game and the harsh reality of the business we’re in.”

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