Walsall striker Douglas James-Taylor spoke to Saddlers Shout in an exclusive interview for last Saturday's programme against Accrington Stanley.
The game was unfortunately postponed due to a frozen pitch and a new date will be confirmed in due course.
Saddlers fans can still pick up a copy of Saturday's programme from the Club Shop or from our online store.
This edition will also be available on the day of the rearranged game but in the meantime, you can read a snippet of Douglas' interview below!
Douglas, thanks for joining us. We’re into the second half of the campaign now. How do you reflect on the first half of the season?
“We had a new group and a lot of it was about gelling, getting to understand the Head Coach and what his vision was for us. For a young group, which the majority of the players in our team are, it was about getting that experience of League Two football for some of us and I think we’ve grown a lot over the last six months. We’ve shown a lot of resilience which is something that we’ve developed and with Priestley (Farquharson) coming back in, I feel like he’s helped us a lot to get defensive stability in there and we’ve grown as a team over the course of the season.”
Last season was your first season in League Two. After signing for us permanently in the summer, how crucial is that experience to then take into this season?
“It was massive. There are so many aspects of men’s football that you have to get to grips with quite fast. You look at the likes of Harry Williams and David Okagbue, I’ve seen them grow a lot, get used to the environment and the demands every week. I know from last season how important it is to have a good group around you, people showing you the ropes and I think they’ve taken really well to it. As a group in general, we’ve grown together over the first half of the season.”
We’ve seen the growth as a team but you’ve also grown individually too. When you look at where you were as a player when you joined us on loan in 2022 to where you are today, are you happy with how you have progressed in that time?
“You always push to where you want to get to in your career and in life so you’re always striving for better every day. I put a lot of work in the off season to get physically better, stronger and quicker so that helped me a lot. Mentally, a big part of it was being flexible. Setting your goals, putting systems in place so whether you’re in the team or out of the team, you’re always progressing, pushing yourself and then staying psychologically stable throughout tough times, throughout good times and being able to take every day as it comes so I’ve done a lot of outside work on that, which has helped me. Hopefully I can kick on in the second half of the season and we can push to where we want to get to.”
You have hit a good patch of form with two goals in your last two league matches. Let’s talk about the Grimsby goal first. Looking back on it, is it a standout goal in your eyes?
“Looking at it overall, it showed my resilience because I know that I’m the type of player that likes to feel settled, feel like I can get a run of games under my belt and when that first goal goes in, it starts to happen for me and things start to fall into place. It was a realisation of men’s football that you can’t afford to have off days and be steady, you’ve got to be pushing and have that output so it was really positive for me to get that first league goal of the season in the way that I did because a lot of things within that goal are attributes that I would say are my strong points and maybe I’ve not shown it enough during my time I’ve been at Walsall for whatever reason. It felt good to show my speed and goalscoring ability within all of that. It was a really good performance from the team getting a 6-1 win, the first in a long time away from home.”
You backed that goal up with your header against Stockport. Was that a big milestone for you to score in consecutive league games?
“That was a big thing for me. If I can keep scoring, help the team in and out of possession and keep pushing myself every day, then I will be able to get that opportunity where I am consistently playing and then I will be able to show what I’m really about.”