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Walsall defender Mat Sadler reveals his hurt at Saddlers' slump

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Walsall defender Mat Sadler has revealed his hurt at the Saddlers' slump and insisted he has taking their dip in form personally.

Walsall defender Mat Sadler has revealed his hurt at the Saddlers' slump and insisted he has taking their dip in form personally.

The left-back is desperate to arrest the Saddlers' slide which stands at just two wins in 20 games since the end of August.

They go to Chesterfield – rock-bottom of League One – tomorrow for a crunch basement battle after Tuesday's Dagenham disaster.

The Saddlers, 21st in the table, crashed out of the FA Cup on penalties to the Football League's bottom side after a goalless draw.

They suffered a 3-2 spot-kick exit as Lee Beevers, Alex Nicholls and Claude Gnakpa all failed from 12 yards.

Sadler was banned – the first game he has missed this term – after being sent off in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Charlton but will return at the B2net Stadium.

And the 26-year-old admitted he is suffering with the Saddlers trapped in another relegation battle.

He said: "You're in the car thinking about the game and taking it personally – because it is personal.

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"It's a personal attack, on you and your family, if you don't play well. I hurt from that sort of thing.

"I'm desperate to play well and absolutely desperate to win. If you're losing it's a tough pill to swallow.

"When you're out there it's not a nice place to be. You have to dig deep and find things in yourself which you've lacked before.

"I'm a deep thinker about the game. I want to learn from the experience and think about it."

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But, despite their wretched run, Sadler insists the squad must stay confident.

He said: "As soon as the gradual decline has been documented you can focus on the uplift,.

"A few points over Christmas and the season has completely changed. You are only as good as your last game and in our next game we can turn it around again.

"Let's keep positive, let's keep things in perspective – this season isn't mapped out in front of us. We're going to give it a right good go and play for every point.

"Every team we've played this season, I've not thought there's been a gulf. I've not come away and thought 'they're a good team and better than us'.'

"I like to think a piece of the puzzle was a little bit of extra work on the training ground which is now coming to the fore.

"I'm positive and optimistic."

But the former Blues defender conceded the Saddlers' senior men must shoulder the responsibility ahead of the Spireites clash.

Defeat would leave the club staring at a bleak mid-winter and Sadler is prepared to rise to the challenge.

He said: "I'd like to think a few of the bigger boys, myself included, will stand up and be counted. That's from experience.

"You can get down and despondent from conceding a goal but you're only another goal from getting back into it.

"I'd like to think, in the difficult situations, I'll be more of a leader and bring something extra to the team which might be needed."

Sadler will return with Beevers – who deputised for him on Tuesday – moving into the centre with defensive pair Manny Smith and Oliver Lancashire out and striker Ryan Jarvis suspended.

Smith was knocked out and lost teeth after a kick to the head against the Daggers, while Lancashire suffered a hamstring injury.

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