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Walsall academy striker Luke Pearce set to feature in squad to face Stevenage

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

Academy forward Luke Pearce is set to feature in the Walsall squad when they travel to face Stevenage.

Banks's Stadium

The 15-year-old has only made a Saddlers squad once this season, as an unused substitute in the 3-2 EFL Trophy win over Chelsea under-21's.

After impressive performances for the reserves, manager Darrell Clarke has confirmed the striker will be involved tomorrow.

“Luke comes into the squad for Saturday, he’s done well in the reserve games and he’s trained with us now for a bit," he said.

"He seems like a lad who’s a natural finisher and absorbs information with and without the ball and we’ll keep working away, he’s still a young lad.

"I don’t give anyone gimmies at this football club but he’s earned his right to be in the squad."

Stevenage currently sit bottom of League Two and are eight points adrift of safety, but after a 0-0 draw between the sides at the Banks's Stadium earlier in the season, Clarke isn't taking them for granted.

“Stevenage are in a position that they don’t want to be in but they’ll be fighting for their lives," he said.

"I’ve watched their last three or four games and to be honest with you, they’ve deserved a lot more from the games so we certainly aren’t going to go down there thinking it’s going to be an easy game, as any League Two game.

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"Any professional game is not easy so we’ve got to be thoroughly professional about how we go about our business in this game which is a potential banana skin.

"For different reasons, they’ve had a lot of changes at the football club, I think they’re into four managers now and that can have an adverse effect – I think they’ve not narrowed down those fine lines.

"They’ve been on top in numerous games and haven’t finished their chances at key moments and have given a couple of sloppy goals away and then you’re dealing with the mentality of players.

"We went through a stage in October where we were having to work through that and deal with that and they’ve not managed as of yet to get through that.

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"There are still games for them to recover that position, we know they’re going to be fighting for their lives so we’re very respectful of that and we’ll make sure that we go out there, whichever XI I put out there, to put on a good performance."

Meanwhile, midfielder Rory Holden insists the mood in the camp is positive, as they too prepare not to take Stevenage lightly.

"We go into every game the same way, it doesn't matter about league positions," he said.

"In this league everyone is sort of similar, there's not much between the top half and the bottom half.

"We'll go in and try and do a job, get three points and come back up the road.

"When we played Stevenage (at home) I think they played well and we didn't play so well.

"Now, compared to the start of the season, we're a different team, so hopefully on Saturday we can show it.

"Everyone is buzzing in the camp, the past few games we have been playing well - maybe we didn't get the result we wanted at the weekend.

"But the mood is positive."

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter

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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