Ex-Saddler Scott Laird backs settled Walsall to go well
Former Walsall defender Scott Laird believes keeping the ‘nucleus’ of the squad for next season will be an advantage – as he heaped praise on goalkeeper Liam Roberts.
The 32-year-old, who spent two spells on loan at the saddlers, including last year when the club was relegated from League One, watched first hand as Roberts grew into his role as first choice goalkeeper.
After a mixed bag of results on the pitch for Walsall last season, Roberts was a largely influential figure for them and Laird insists keeping him, and the 17 other players already under contract, will put the club in good stead for the 2020/21 campaign.
“The key word is nucleus, they need to keep that together,” he said. “A really big thing was keeping Liam Roberts – I think he is exceptional.
“He’s young and already has a good amount of games behind him, he’s a great lad.
“If they can keep that nucleus of the squad and add here and there, I think they can push for promotion next season.”
Meanwhile, manager Darrell Clarke insists the club were on the right path before the season was curtailed, having gone unbeaten in five games.
“We had a massive turnaround last summer and it took us a little bit of time to get going,” he said.
“The last 20 games we were a top seven team and the last 11 we were a top three team. Things started to come together nicely, which was a positive. With the changes that we made, we were heading in the right direction.”