Matt Taylor: Walsall feeling confident with the comforts of home

Walsall boss Matt Taylor says his side should feel ‘extremely confident’ as they welcome Bristol Rovers to the Banks’s Stadium.

Saddlers boss Matt Taylor has been buoyed by his side’s home form
Saddlers boss Matt Taylor has been buoyed by his side’s home form

While Taylor admits the Saddlers have not been as consistent as he would have liked so far in League Two, they have fared well at home as of late.

A win tomorrow would be their fourth in succession at the Banks’s in all competitions, and he wants them – despite losing key man Liam Kinsella to a knee injury – to seize the occasion against Joey Barton’s side.

“Unfortunately, we’re not picking up the points that we should do away from home,” said Taylor.

“That makes the home form more important and there’s more pressure on the players, but as a group of players, they should be extremely confident going into this game.

“The last three games we’ve had at home, we’ve won, and we’ve performed.

“So, it’s an easy one for me. You’re asking the players to go and replicate that.

“It’s all underpinned by hard work and desire and the work you do on the training ground.

“The players are working hard, training hard, and desperate to get better.

“And they’re under no illusions that the most important thing is to pick up a result at home again.”

Walsall go into the clash 19th in the table while Rovers, who are expected to bring a large following, are a point worse off in 22nd.

Pressure is building on Barton after relegation from League One and a poor start to this campaign.

And Taylor knows him well as he said: “I played with Joey for a season at Burnley, and he’s a deep-thinker.

“I think he, similarly to me, is in a position in the table he’s not too happy about.

“Joey’s got experience at a higher level and is very capable as a coach, so it will be nice to see him.

“I haven’t seen him since Burnley, so it’ll be good to catch up. But we’ll leave that until after the game as the most important thing is the three points.”

The Saddlers will be without Kinsella, Conor Wilkinson (hamstring) and Rory Holden (knee) while Joss Labadie serves the final game of his three-match ban.

It means Walsall will have to shake things up in midfield, with Sam Perry looking the most likely to step in alongside Jack Earing.

“It’s the nature of the beast and one player’s misery is another player’s gain. Somebody will get the opportunity and they’ve got to perform,” said Taylor.

“We’ve got a competitive squad and whoever takes that shirt needs to make sure they match Liam’s previous performances.”

Taylor added: “We just want to win.

“We want to make it a difficult place to come to. The fans are going to be key to that.

“It’ll be a fantastic atmosphere. What an opportunity for our players to go out and perform.”

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