Joss Labadie backing Walsall to compete at the top

Joss Labadie is ‘really optimistic’ over Walsall’s chances this season and sees no reason why they cannot compete at the top end of League Two.

SPORT PIC MNA PIC  DAVID HAMILTON PIC  EXPRESS AND STAR 3/8/21 Open training session at the Banks's Stadium, Walsall..
SPORT PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC EXPRESS AND STAR 3/8/21 Open training session at the Banks's Stadium, Walsall..

The Saddlers, having made 12 signings this summer including the former Newport County skipper, kick off the campaign at Tranmere on Saturday.

Matt Taylor’s new-look squad trained in front of fans as they held an open session at the Banks’s Stadium yesterday, and Labadie – who reached the play-off final with Newport last term – feels they have all the ingredients to be successful.

“Last season, the league was up for grabs, and I don’t see why it’ll be any different this year,” he said.

“We’ve just got to back ourselves. It’s really important we have a good start and we’ll be looking to do that.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be competing at the top end of this league.

“I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think we had a chance.

“We’re not getting too excited, but it’s important to create a good culture and the gaffer has brought in the personnel to establish that within the team.

“We’re all pulling in the same direction and all want to work hard for each other.

“The club has a great foundation. You just look around and there aren’t many stadiums in the league to this calibre.

“We’ve got a great manager who’s played at the highest level, players who’ve played at a high level.

“So, I’m really optimistic about the future and as long as we all give it our all, there’s no reason why we can’t compete.”

Labadie captained Walsall in their final pre-season friendly at Cheltenham last weekend and is looking to help give Saddlers fans lots of reasons to smile.

Supporters were unable to watch games in person for the entirety of last season but turned out in good numbers for the open session, with the players posing for pictures and signing shirts.

Walsall have already sold more than 1,000 tickets for the trip to Tranmere, too, with upwards of 1,500 expected to travel to Prenton Park.

Labadie is loving the atmosphere as he added: “It’s exciting times. Fans are allowed back in stadiums which is brilliant, something we’ve all been looking forward to.

“This pre-season, we’ve had a lot of fans come to watch our games and it’s been really good.

“The atmosphere has been good and we can’t wait until Saturday.

“A few lads from last year have said there’s a different atmosphere.

“All the boys are getting on. There’s a great spirit in the camp and it’s really exciting times for this football club.

“Everyone’s upbeat. It’s good to meet the fans and hopefully we can give them something to cheer about on Saturday.”

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