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Development Squad

Mat Sadler full of praise after Central League victory over Fleetwood

31 March 2022

Walsall Player/Coach Mat Sadler was pleased with the attitude and application of the senior players who featured in Tuesday’s Central League victory over Fleetwood Town.

First team players Brendan Kiernan, Sam Perry, Zak Mills and Tom Leak all featured with Kiernan and Perry both scoring in a 3-2 win for the Saddlers.

Sadler was pleased with how the entire team performed and praised the work ethic of the first team lads who all got much needed minutes under their belts.

“It was a really good workout,” he said.

“We had four of our first team players play in the game all coming from different perspectives.

“Firstly Zak, really good for his next step up in his recovery and to see him get through those 45 minutes and for him it was just to work as hard as you can for those 45 minutes, have bodies around you, get used to being in your position again so that was really worthwhile for him.

“In terms of the other three lads, their attitude and character was exemplary and it was epitomised by Sam scoring the goal, Brendan scored the other goal but I thought Tom Leak was a colossus defensively, he did really well.

“There’s always a tendency to feel a little bit frustrated when you’re travelling all the way up to Fleetwood to play a game when you just want to be involved in first team action but their attitude and desire to work was fantastic.

“There are other standout players. I thought Marvellous (Onabirekhanlen) up front did really well, he’s coming into his own. Ronan Maher worked tirelessly so I’m really pleased.”

There were also a number of academy players involved in what was productive afternoon at Poolfoot farm.

The Saddlers also called upon 15-year-old goalkeeper Jenson Kilroy and Sadler was impressed with what he saw from the young stopper.

“I spoke to Mike about it straight away and a couple of things stood out to me,” he commented.

“He had a real confidence to come and punch the ball amongst a load of bodies, which isn’t a trait you tend to associate with young goalkeepers.

“It’s quite easy to go and sit on your line and wait for the ball to come to you so he was really proactive in his goalkeeping.

“Secondly, he struck the ball really well. The pitch wasn’t the best, there were a lot of bobbles on it and he dealt with any back passes really well and from the floor he boomed it three quarters of the pitch so some of the things you don’t tend to expect from young goalkeepers, he produced.

“I’ll be looking forward to see him as the next three/four-years progress if that’s how it works out.”


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