Walsall's Darrell Clarke hails Elijah Adebayo and Rory Holden's impressive displays

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has heaped praise on striker Elijah Adebayo and midfielder Rory Holden after impressive displays in the 2-2 draw with Port Vale.

Elijah Adebayo celebrates his goal
Elijah Adebayo celebrates his goal

The two 22-year-olds were the stand-out performers as the team twice came back from a losing position – with Adebayo netting one of the equalisers.

When asked about the pair's performances in the last two fixtures, Clarke was keen to defend Holden, insisting that his good form has lasted much longer.

“Longer than that, I’m not having that," he said.

“Holden, for me, for the last four months has been absolutely outstanding.

“I’m not having the last two games, he’s been outstanding on a consistent basis for a while now.

“With Adebayo, I agree, but we’ve chatted to him and we’re working on him.

“I think Adebayo has been outstanding for the last two games – Rory Holden was superb as well.

“When he (Adebayo) plays like that, he has to keep those consistency levels.

“He’s still a young boy, I don’t think he has even got 40 games under his belt.

“He’s growing and he’s a confidence player.

“With somebody like that, putting an arm around him is a difficult balance.

“I touched on it in the week and just said to him to get in the zone, find what gets you ticking ready for kick-off.

“I think that’s what he’s done in the last two performances which is pleasing to see."

There was a surprise exclusion from the team with number one goalkeeper Liam Roberts being left on the bench, with Jack Rose starting ahead of him.

Fans questioned the decision further when the 25-year-old didn't warm up before the game but Clarke confirmed he has been struck down with illness.

“He’s been unbelievably ill this week," he added.

“Liam has done nothing wrong, in the last two days in training he’s looked like he’s lost half a stone - a good stone - in weight.

“He’s really struggling so after a chat with Maik (Taylor) he didn’t feel he’d be anywhere near 100 per cent.

“Rosey (Jack Rose) came in to cover that but hopefully he’ll be back soon.

“I thought he started the game sloppy but made a good couple of saves in the second-half, which goalies are paid to do.

“We have two decent goalkeepers that are working hard."

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