Bescot Banter: True identity of Walsall set to be unveiled

We're back with another attempt to make sense of the latest goings-on in WS1.


After seeing their team fail to win any of their five previous games, Saddlers fans would have been forgiven for fearing the worst as Matthew Taylor's men played host to Stevenage last weekend.

With a lack of goals, a shaky backline, and ineffective midfield, the Reds had huffed and puffed their way to just one point in four league games, whilst also exiting the Carabao Cup at the first time of asking.

However, in a welcome, and somewhat unexpected return to winning ways, the Saddlers not only secured all three points - Conor Wilkinson's first goal in a Walsall shirt arriving with just five minutes on the clock - but also demonstrated an ability to defend for the majority of the match, denying their opponents on various occasions, to climb out of the drop zone.

Buoyed by the result, and possibly more importantly the performance, the Saddlers' next port of call was Tuesday's Transfer Deadline Day, and Matthew Taylor's final opportunity to secure the services of a player who isn't already a free agent, and therefore arriving with a level of match fitness.

With the usual pre-Deadline Day links noticeably less forthcoming - our Rumour Mill thread has all-but ground to a halt over the last few weeks and months - fans and pundits struggled to pinpoint a likely signing, with many forum commenters expecting the worst.

Following several hours of silence, where even club reporter Joe Edwards struggled to find anything worthy of a social media post, the club confirmed the arrival of Barnsley's George Miller, a less-than prolific forward who has so far failed to live up to the promise which saw Middlesbrough pluck him from the clutches of Bury a few years ago.

Whilst we're always keen to give players the benefit of the doubt, and aren't concerned with their performances for other clubs, this was something of a disappointing signing as we're clearly in need of an experienced head to drag better performances out of our less experienced players and not another unknown player who may well end up playing very few games as many recent loanees have.

Clearly, we welcome George to the club and hope he can go on to prove us wrong, but there seems to have been a lack of focus which has not only crept in but taken over. Gone are the chairman's strong words of a need to change, and in its place is a gaffer insisting a team has done well despite a clear lack of progression.

We're happy to admit that the team was always going to take time to gel, and wins were far more likely to be the product of a few individual stand-out performances and not an overwhelming team display, but, aside from an overworked goalkeeper, the team has looked lost, and often struggled to lay a glove on their opponents.

Last weekend's win over Stevenage showed us just what the team is capable of and, whilst they hardly blew their opponents away - with some Boro-leaning pundits believing their team should have been able to take all three points against a poor opponent - we remain hopeful that the team will be able to build upon the result during the second month of the campaign.

With the Transfer Window closed and, aside from any potential free agent arrivals, the squad is set. So hopefully we'll begin to see the true identity of the new-look Saddlers. Whether that sees the team slowly climb the table, or continue to be stick in a downward spiral, only time will tell.

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