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Walsall veteran Stephen Ward still loving the thrill of league football

Aged 36, Stephen Ward is playing pretty much every minute of every game for Walsall.

Stephen Ward in action for Walsall
Stephen Ward in action for Walsall

The former Wolves man has been ever-present in League Two for the Saddlers so far this season.

And while helping players off the pitch with his vast experience, he is determined to keep contributing on the field for as long as possible.

Some veterans may look to wind down their careers at this stage, but Ward loves the cut and thrust of it all as much as he ever did.

He feels Matt Taylor’s side are making solid progress after a rocky start to the campaign as well.

When asked about his Walsall spell so far and whether he still has the same enjoyment for the game, the Irishman said: “Yes, 100 per cent.

“I’m really enjoying the whole feel around the place.

“We obviously had a tough start when we were still finding our way as a new team, but over the last

couple of months, it’s started to come together.

“We’re starting to play the way we wanted to play. We’re starting to know each other well.

“And for me, I’m enjoying it. I still feel there’s more to come from us as a team, too, so hopefully it will get better.”

Ward started three games in the space of seven days as the Saddlers beat King’s Lynn Town in the FA Cup, lost to Forest Green Rovers in the EFL Trophy and then fell short against Harrogate Town in the league.

This week has seen Taylor’s lot working hard at Essington as they look to respond to the latter when they face Rochdale at the Banks’s Stadium this Saturday.

They are then going to former boss Darrell Clarke’s Port Vale no Tuesday, with around 1,500 set to make the trip, before heading to Carlisle the following Saturday.

It is a relentless schedule that is only going to get busier over the festive period, but Ward would not have it any other way.

“I train Monday to Friday to play on the Saturday,” he said.

“There’s no better feeling than turning up to play a game.

“With the way the club is at the minute, too, there’s a real good atmosphere between the fans, players and staff. They can see the way we want to go, and we’re trying to give them a team we can be proud of on the pitch.”

Ward added: “I think they can see the work we’ve been putting in on the training pitch out there on a Saturday.

“Sometimes it will be tough and we’ve had some tough days, but overall, we’re giving them what we can.”

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