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Knowles hails Walsall's versatility

1 November 2022

Club News

Knowles hails Walsall's versatility

1 November 2022

Walsall forward Tom Knowles felt the team showed their versatility after rounding off a positive week with victory over Rochdale.

Hayden White scored the only goal of the game at the Poundland Bescot Stadium as the Saddlers made it seven points from their last three outings.

Knowles was pleased with how the team dug in to get the result and cap off a fine week for the squad.

“We’ve had a good week,” Knowles said. “Saturday and Tuesday were completely different games but it shows that as a team, we can do both sides to the game and at the end of the day, we got the three points which is the most important thing.

“After the game on Tuesday we were still disappointed at conceding the goal late one because we want to keep a clean sheet, especially the defenders and the goalkeeper and I thought we did that really well (on Saturday).

“We defended the box really well because we knew that Rochdale were going to be a hard, physical team and that towards the end the pressure is going to be on us to get the ball out. I think we did that really well and defended well as a team as well.”

Saddlers Head Coach Michael Flynn oversaw an abundance of incoming transfers in the summer, something Knowles believes contributed to a stuttering first couple of months of the campaign.

“We had a lot of signings over the summer," he commented. "It took us a little bit of time to work each other out, but we’ve done that now, we can look forward and hopefully, we can climb that league.

The Cambridge United academy graduate, who most recently enjoyed a spell with National League outfit Yeovil Town, continued to explain the importance of having a good connection and understanding with the players around you, outlining the role he and Danny Johnson play in Flynn’s attacking system.

“It’s helpful when we know each other’s games," Knowles said.

"I know DJ's [Danny Johnson’s] and Hutch's [Isaac Hutchinson’s] games and hopefully they’ve clocked onto mine. Having Hutch in there, he drives with the ball so well and picks up lots of second balls, so if we’re off him, making runs down the sides then happy days, hopefully we’ll get our chances and the three points."

In recent weeks, Walsall have had a host of different goal scorers, something Knowles values in a squad as being vital for consistency.

“DJ [Johnson] has had a fantastic start to the season and we can’t be reliant upon one person," he insists.

"Obviously, I’d like to chip in with some more, I’m sure Hutch will, Gords [Liam Gordon] got his first goal on Tuesday night, so everyone can chip in and hopefully it’s contributing to a positive result at the end of the game.”

When discussing the weekend win over Rochdale and the pressure applied by the visitors in the second period, Knowles highlighted the positive and encouraging impact the home crowd had on the players in holding onto their lead and securing a precious three points, a theme that has continued regardless of results.

“They’ve been brilliant with us all season," he said.

"Even when we weren’t doing very well, they stuck by us, travelled in their numbers and hopefully now we’re beginning to repay that with the performances and the goals we’re scoring.

“It’s a massive thanks to them because we couldn’t do it without them, they dragged us over the line and long may it continue”

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