Walsall Head Coach Mat Sadler has provided an update on Douglas James-Taylor, Tom Knowles and Danny Johnson after the trio missed Saturday’s final pre-season friendly against Solihull Moors.
The Saddlers ended the pre-season campaign with a 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Liam Gordon, Isaac Hutchinson and Ronan Maher.
Walsall travel to Morecambe on Saturday as the Sky Bet League Two campaign gets underway. Sadler will be hoping to call upon all three players and he provided the latest on their situations.
“Douglas James-Taylor, he’s absolutely fine so he’ll train again on Monday, we got some good news on him,” Sadler revealed.
“Tom, he’s got a little bit of a thing where we need to rest and recover him for a couple of weeks so he won’t be too long out of the picture and if I know Tom like I think I know him, it wouldn’t surprise me if he runs onto that training pitch on Tuesday morning and says ‘I’m ready to train’ because he wants to play in that first game, so we’re in good shape.
“Danny Johnson (wasn’t involved at Solihull) because there’s a couple of family things which is the most important thing that he has to sort his attention with and he does with my complete best wishes. Hopefully we see him on Monday and everything is back to normal.
“He’s absolutely fine physically and we hope everything is okay going into next week.”
Saddlers striker Freddie Draper made a positive impact on Saturday, playing his part in two of the three goals.
However, the 19-year-old will be unable to feature against Morecambe and at Blackburn Rovers next Tuesday and Sadler explained why he will be absent.
“Unfortunately, Freddie won’t be with me for the first two games after a suspension that he got at Drogheda but he will be available for the first home game,” the Head Coach confirmed.
Preparations for the new campaign have gone well. The Saddlers have remained unbeaten throughout pre-season and the team have gelled together well.
Sadler is excited for the league season to get started and has been pleased with how things have come together over the last six weeks, culminating in a good run of results to take into next week’s curtain raiser.
“I said to the lads, we’ve won the pre-season cup but you get absolutely nothing for winning the pre-season cup,” Sadler commented.
“I’m pleased with the togetherness that the squad has shown, we’re going to need every one of them throughout the season and each and every one of them, trust me, are going to be massive for me and the football club.
“What they’re growing and gathering is a real togetherness and it’s exactly the same with the staff. They’re trusting each other, they’re running for each other and they’re setting each other when that’s the right time to do it.
"There are some really positive signs, we’re five/six weeks off since they first came into the building and they’ve put a lot of hard work in so I’m really pleased with everything they’ve done and can’t wait for the proper stuff now.”