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Walsall v Swindon: Matt Taylor eager to create FA Cup memories as a manager

His first memories of the FA Cup are sat at home watching the iconic competition with his Dad.

Matthew Taylor..
Matthew Taylor..

And since then, Walsall boss Matt Taylor has experienced plenty of highs and lows in the world’s oldest knockout tournament.

From scoring a late equaliser for Portsmouth at Liverpool to the devastation of losing a semi-final at Wembley, the 40-year-olds memories put him firmly in the camp of FA Cup romantic.

And now he is a manager, Taylor is determined to enjoy more success in the competition.

While some teams see the competition as an opportunity to rest and rotate players, Walsall will name their strongest side when they host Swindon in the second round tomorrow.

And that’s because Taylor is determined to give Saddlers fans their own magical FA Cup memories.

“It would mean an awful lot to the club and it would mean an awful lot to me, the staff and the players if we can win this game,” Taylor said. “I think it’s the best cup competition in the world. I am biased because I am English, I played in it and I understand the heritage.

“I remember sitting and watching it with my Dad.

“We would watch the games, the results come in – we would have Teletext on. It really was special for me, a fantastic childhood memory.

“And I remember the joy I got from playing in the competition and I remember the hurt I felt from getting beat at Wembley in the semi-final.

“Maybe some teams have treated it as less important than the league.

“But I can guarantee you we will pick the strongest side we can to try and progress.

“A few players here have had some good runs in the cup and they know how much that can galvanize a group of players.

“It’s a game that we are going to give everything to. You could argue if we were to get an exceptional third round draw, the value of this game is greater than three points.”

Walsall enter the game eager to make sure they don’t exit two cup competitions in the space of just a few days.

Taylor’s side really should have overcome Cambridge in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

But they missed a host of chances at the Abbey Stadium and ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat.

And Taylor is eager to see his side bounce back tomorrow.

“We have got the Cambridge game out of our system,” he continued.

“Watching the game I was surprised that we didn’t take the chances we created.

“And then watching it back, I was more than surprised because we created some quality chances.

“Now we move on to Swindon.

“They are a team that is free-flowing, that, similar to us, is new and they have a clear identity and way of playing.

“But I feel it’s a game we must go after. It’s a game where have to impose ourselves and our game plan.

“We are desperate to perform because we want to be in the third round of the FA Cup.”

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