Express & Star

Tyler Roberts aims to fire Walsall into promotion race

Tyler Roberts wants to fire Walsall into the promotion race after grabbing a debut goal against Bradford.

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Tyler Roberts

The 18-year-old enjoyed a fairytale start to life at the Banks's Stadium when he came off the bench to inspire his new side to a second-half fight-back on Saturday.

Entering the fray at 3-0 down, Roberts scored with an impressive header just moments after Luke Leahy had reduced Walsall's arrears.

Then with time running out, the Albion loanee grabbed an assist when he crossed for Amadou Bakayoko to seal the thrilling come-back.

And the teenager, who had signed for the Saddlers just 24 hours before, believes the result proves Walsall are capable of mounting a charge for the play-offs.

"Bradford was an outstanding point," the striker said.

"You could feel in the stadium, once we got one goal back, the second goal was always going to come and then we got the third as well.

"The manager told me to go on, express myself, enjoy myself and try to make a difference.

"It was good to come in and show what I can do it and to score in front of the home fans and get that buzz was great.

"Hopefully it will be the first of many and we can climb the table. I think we could easily make the play-offs with the team we have got.

"Bradford are a great side, you saw what they did last season, so for us to come back from 3-0 down shows that we can compete with anybody in this league."

Roberts' performance was justification for Jon Whitney who, despite coming under heavy pressure to sign a striker, waited until Albion made Roberts available.

And the forward – who has now joined up with the Wales under-21 squad – says he is determined to repay the faith the boss has shown in him.

"The manager was a big reason why I decided to come here," Roberts added.

"It is a great club and over the past few years they have done well in the league.

“But it was a window where he (Whitnyy) has been patient, sorting things out.

"It’s nice to know he would hang out for me and that he rates me that highly, that I was worth waiting for. Hopefully I can repay that faith."