Striker Craig Westcarr reckons boss Dean Smith has sparked genuine competition for places at Walsall despite the summer exits.
Smith’s Saddlers have made an encouraging start to the campaign which sees them heading for Saturday’s clash at Leyton Orient with a real spring in their step as they prepare to tackle the form team in the country.
The Saddlers can’t match Orient’s amazing eight-out-of-eight record but they have set off at just under two points a game while adding to the team’s growing reputation for stylish football.
And all this despite the exits of Will Grigg, Jamie Paterson and Febian Brandy during the summer which ripped the three top scorers of last season from Smith’s grasp.
Westcarr, however, believes the manager has again worked the oracle and given Saddlers the attack to hurt League One opponents.
“Everyone is on their toes at the moment.
“That’s the main thing and the best thing,” said Westcarr.
“When you don’t know if you are going to be playing or not that’s healthy competition and the way it should be. Hopefully we can keep giving the manager a headache.”
After victory at Molineux, Smith rested Westcarr and Ashley Hemmings and gave James Baxendale and Romaine Sawyers their starting chance against Rotherham.
But it will be a major surprise if Smith does not return to his Molineux line-up at Brisbane Road with Westcarr saluting the growing impact of another of the summer recruits – Troy Hewitt.
He said: “Troy is playing really well up there so that’s another option for us. He is probably more of a target man than the rest of us. He’s more of a player who stays up there and wins the flick-ons and is a battering ram, doing the hard work for the rest of us.”
Meanwhile Sedgley-born striker George Bowerman, who was cut from the Saddlers plans at the end of last season, will bid to re-launch his career in Scotland.
The 21-year-old has signed for St Johnstone.