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Walsall striker Elijah Adebayo told: Prove it's not a fluke

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has challenged striker Elijah Adebayo to prove he's not a 'conman' after his impressive display in the 3-2 win over Northampton Town.

Elijah Adebayo

The 22-year-old put in his best 90 minutes in a Walsall shirt with a sublime performance on Saturday.

Although he failed to get on the scoresheet, Clarke insists he was his man of the match and wants the former Fulham man to produce that same standard each week.

“Like I just said to him in there, show me you’re not a conman," he said.

“Show me you can produce that regularly.

“He’s a lovely lad, Eli, he has all the tools.

“I want to say that on a consistent basis but there was only one man of the match out there for me and that was Eli.

“He did very, very well.

“Josh (Gordon) got the goal that got us back in it but I thought Eli deserved a goal today.

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“He had a great game and did really well.

“I thought it would be an ideal day with the conditions - he was a good decision from me.

“(Caolan) Lavery has worked very hard in the last two games and I thought he needed a little bit of breather to freshen him up a bit.

“I thought Eli played the conditions great."

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Second-half goals from Josh Gordon and Danny Guthrie got Walsall level after falling behind by two goals in the first half.

Midfielder Rory Holden then stepped up to fire the Saddlers to three points with a 93rd minute strike and the 22-year-old was full of praise for Adebayo's performance.

“We all know Elijah is unplayable when he wants to be," he added.

“If he can now kick on, I thought he was fantastic and really got the team going in the second-half."

After failing to impress in a 5-3-2 formation in the first-half, Clarke quickly switched to a 4-2-3-1 in the second 45 minutes.

He admitted after the game that he made a mistake with his starting XI and believes managers need to be 'brave' and make changes when it isn't working.

“I know my squad and where we’re at, what the strengths and weaknesses bring," he said.

“We’d have got beaten with that team at Newport, that’s for sure.

“Sometimes you get them right and sometimes you get them wrong with your selections, but you have to be brave as a manager to change things when you feel it’s fit and necessary.

“If you’re going to be successful you have to be able to change things when they aren’t working."

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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