Harrogate v Walsall - Match Preview

Tough-tacking midfielder Liam Kinsella insists Walsall’s success begins from defence as the club target another clean sheet victory when they travel to Harrogate Town tomorrow.

Liam Kinsella
Liam Kinsella

Since football returned the Saddlers have been solid at the back in their opening three games – only conceding in the 2-2 draw with Bristol Rovers in the EFL Trophy, in what was a rotated starting XI.

Last Saturday, a dogged defensive display set Walsall up for their 1-0 League Two opening win over Grimsby and Kinsella believes that solid foundation is key.

“It’s vital to keep clean sheets, we drilled that into us in pre-season,” he said. “If you keep a clean sheet you have a great chance of winning the game.

“We’re limiting them to very little chances and defending as a unit well.”

Tomorrow, Walsall travel to Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium while League Two newcomers Harrogate have their own ground turfed to meet EFL standards.

Although they are playing an hour’s drive away from their home, it will be Harrogate’s first ever ‘home’ game in the Football League following their 4-0 demolition of Southend last week.

Simon Weaver’s side lost 3-0 to Albion in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, despite putting in a spirited performance, and Kinsella is not underestimating them.

“To be newly promoted and winning 4-0, you look at it,” Kinsella added.

“I watched them against West Brom and they put on a really good performance, so we’re expecting a good battle against them. We’ll see what happens.

“They look a good team, solid.

“But we’re confident in ourselves and confident we can go there and put on a performance.”

Kinsella has started all three of Walsall’s games this season as fellow midfielders Stuart Sinclair and Danny Guthrie get up to speed following injuries.

For the 24-year-old, that trust from manager Darrell Clarke is important.

“It’s nice to see a bit of faith, I give everything on the pitch and when he chooses me I give everything for him,” Kinsella said.

“We’ve had a good start to the season with three good performances and hopefully we can continue that.

“Every season I want to play as much as I can and play more than last season.

“I want to be successful and go into the season being a successful team. And I feel like we can do that with the bunch of lads we have.”

Kinsella has played alongside 19-year-old Alfie Bates in the middle of the park – a talent he believes can go far.

“Playing with Alfie has been decent, he’s a fantastic player, anyone can see that,” he added.

“Hopefully being an older pro now I can guide him.

“You can see from last year and the performances he put in, everyone can see how good a player he is.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him but he’ll have a great future ahead of him I think.”

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