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Neil McDonald previews Tranmere test

11 February 2022

Walsall interim Head Coach Neil McDonald has called on the players to take responsibility as they prepare to face Tranmere Rovers at the Banks’s Stadium tomorrow.

McDonald and Mat Sadler have temporarily taken charge of first team affairs following the departure of Matt Taylor.

The 56-year-old is expecting a tricky test against Micky Mellon’s side but has stressed the Saddlers must improve both individually and collectively in what he admitted will be a game of high magnitude.

"It is a big game for us against Tranmere because we have lost seven on the bounce,” he said.

“That’s not very nice for the staff as well as the players. All we have said to them is that individually, they have got to perform a little bit better, they have got to take a little bit more responsibility and they have certainly got to stick together.

“We need them to keep on creating chances and then they have to be a bit more clinical in front of goal. If we can put all of that together and they can do that then we have got a great chance to be competitive against a very good team who are second in the league and they’re not going to be easy to beat.

“I am expecting Tranmere to be very compact, a team that will be looking to try and play off the front two. I am expecting a team that are going to put the ball into the box and if they score the first goal, they are going to be very difficult to break down.

“Defensively they are really solid, they don’t take any chances and they don’t over commit. We have to find a way of trying to exploit their weaknesses because they do have them.

“If we do that then we will score and we will be in a good game and hopefully we will be on the right side of the result which we haven’t been in the last few weeks.”

There were a handful of players missing against Scunthorpe United earlier this week and McDonald provided the latest update heading in to Saturday’s match.

“The squad is looking ok at the moment,” he commented.

“We’ve got Stephen Ward who has come back into the group to train which is really good.

“We’ve got Jack Earing who is going to join up with the squad on Friday, he has just gone through the last tests following the bang on his head and Devante Rodney has trained with the group for the first time in numbers instead of training by himself so let’s see how they all react on Friday and then we will decide what we are going to do team wise.”


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