Captain Andy Butler leads Walsall into a key clash against Tranmere relishing his role in the “best footballing team” of his career.
Butler admitted that the team’s exciting progress this season has been a pleasant surprise after another major re-build by manager Dean Smith.
The 29-year-old defender the latest in a growing line of players to open talks about a new deal at the Banks’s Stadium.
And Butler revealed he has never been more excited or optimistic about what could be ahead for his team.
They tackle fourth-placed Tranmere tonight in the first of two home games which offer Smith’s side the chance to make further inroads into the five-point gap which currently separates Walsall from the top six.
He said: “We just have to keep going, keep doing what we are doing and not put any extra pressure on ourselves.
“But this is the best footballing team I have been involved with. We’re playing football with a smile on our face and we’ve got some real quality in the side.
“Has it taken me by surprise? Probably it has. When we got together in pre-season with so many new faces a few of us were wondering ‘how is this going to go?’
"But the gaffer has brought in some great players and all the credit has got to go to him.”
On a full night of League One action, the ninth-placed Saddlers immediate target is to overhaul Coventry, who entertain Colchester, and a Bournemouth side who are in action at Stevenage.
But beyond the short-term, the defender sees an exciting future opening up for a group of players who are relishing what he believes is a rare team spirit.
He said: "We come into training every day and you are surrounded by friends. We back each other up and we’re all asking the same thing: ‘How can we improve this?’ We all want to get better.
“We’re talking about a new contract and I do like it here. This is the best football I have played in my career and it's great to see the club getting the young lads tied down.
“Tranmere is a big game for us. They are doing well and they are up there for a reason. They will come to our place with confidence and anything can happen in this division – any team can beat another.
"But we have shown we can cope.”