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It's all come good for James O'Connor

Walsall | Sport | Published:

For James O'Connor, this season the rewards have come late.

The defender admits his first season at Walsall has often been frustrating.

In-and-out of the side, the 30-year-old has experienced fluctuating form and a fair dose of bad luck.

The last seven games have in that respect been his most consistent, featuring his longest run at centre-back.

O'Connor, who signed a one-year deal last summer and has often been played at right-back, admits in the middle is his preferred position.

"When I was younger I was always a full-back - a flying full-back," he says. "You learn to read the game differently.

"But I have played probably half of my career at centre-half, so it is not a strange thing.

"It is just frustrating having to wait for a chance. I think I have performed well. Again it is just frustration to think throughout the year.

"It was my 33rd appearance today and had I been able to have the run earlier in the season then who knows?

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"It is one of those, you can't keep looking back, you have to look forward."

The Saddlers have conceded just four goals during the seven game stretch, though three of those came in Tuesday's 3-3 draw at Swindon, the first a highly controversial penalty.

Referee Iain Williamson pointed to the spot when he adjudged keeper Richard O'Donnell to have fouled Jermaine Hylton.

"I think we conceded a penalty for having our own keeper kicked in the face, which is a strange one - a first in my career, I'll admit," says O'Connor.

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He went on: "It is hard to put into words. The first thing you do when you go in is talk to other members of the back four.

"You are thinking we defended well yet we have come off the pitch conceding three goals. We are disappointed with it.

"From a neutrals point of view I think it was a great game. I'm not one to make excuses but I think games can change on decisions and I think that has definitely changed it.

"Getting back to 2-2 we could have crumbled but credit to us, we kicked on and could have won it in the end."

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