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Pre-match: Sadler discusses transfer window and Gillingham test

2 February 2024

Club News

Pre-match: Sadler discusses transfer window and Gillingham test

2 February 2024

Walsall Head Coach Mat Sadler has been pleased with the business he has done during the January transfer window and is now looking forward to tackling the second half of the season.

Emmanuel Adegboyega, Josh Gordon, Mo Faal and Jamie Jellis all joined the Saddlers this month while defender Evan Weir also signed up before returning to Drogheda United on loan for the rest of the season.

Liam Gordon and Jack Earing also signed new contracts, on the back of Oisin McEntee also putting pen to paper on a new deal back in November, in what has been a busy period of business.

Overall, Sadler is happy with the business conducted, particularly with one eye on the future.

“We’ve done a lot, there’s a lot that has gone on,” he said.

“We recognised after Freddie (Draper) went back that we needed to strengthen in that area, which we’ve done as we brought in Flash (Josh Gordon), we brought in Mo and we needed to get that little bit of competition and change of dynamic with Freddie going so we knew we needed to bring a couple of lads in there.

“I’ve done Manny (Adegboyega) as well to add cover into the back line. Further than that, in the way we’ve strengthened in the build that I’ve been talking about and keep preaching about, because it’s right, it was an important month for the contract renewals.

“We did Oisin and then Jack and Liam as well and then one that people forget is Evan who will come into the building at the end of the season so I’m very pleased with what we’ve done, it was all for the build.

“We’ve strengthened and we wanted to come out of January stronger than we went into January which I don’t think we’ve done historically for want of different reasons. I certainly feel like we’ve done that, not only now but for the long term and the final one for that is JJ (Jamie Jellis) that we’ve done, another young, hungry player who is desperate to improve and get better for the football club.

“Naturally in these transfer windows people look at who is coming in but for me it was making sure that we get as many that are here under contract secured for the long term of the football club and we’ve done that with a good amount of them.

“We now look forward to the second half of the season and these next three relentless months of games with a squad I’m very happy with.”

As well as new additions, Sadler has been able to welcome back players from injury.

Jamille Matt returned last weekend while Ross Tierney and Joe Riley are also back in the picture.

Aramide Oteh has also trained with the team having been absent since October and Sadler is delighted to see him closing in on a return to action.

“Rem coming into the mix in the last seven days has been a breath of fresh air,” Sadler commented.

“He’s champing at the bit and he’s a little bit ahead of where I thought he was going to be so now it’s down to me to manage when the right time to unleash Rem is, all the while making sure that we don’t do it a bit too soon.

“It’s great to have him back, that smile on his face. It’s been a little while that he’s been out and we’ve missed him because of lots of different reasons but mostly because of his attitude and he goes into the category of the ones that we’ve missed such as (Joe) Riley and Ross (Tierney), those guys bring a bounce and an energy to the place that we miss when they’re not in the squad so they’re good selection headaches to have.”

The Saddlers head to Gillingham on Saturday, looking to get back to winning ways and the Saddlers Head Coach is focused on how his team will face the task ahead against a strong side.

“They’re a good team, with a good manager,” he said.

“They’re a football club that are desperate to move forwards and as we know, it’s always a tough place to go when you go away to Gillingham so it’s going to be a tough game and a big challenge for us but as always, it’s all about the focus on us, what we are, what we want to do in the game and that’s what the focus will be on.

“It’s another League Two game where we’re desperate to keep looking forward, keep up our good run of form that we’ve been on in the last couple of months and come out of the game making sure that we’ve improved, making sure we’ve shown that best side of us and we go there trying to get the result.”

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