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Bescot Banter: Walsall consistently inconsistent

After failing to secure victory in any of their previous six games at the Banks's, the Saddlers returned to winning ways last weekend as they defeated Colchester United by three-goals-to-nil.


A brace from winger Otis Khan – the recent arrival netting his first goals in a Walsall shirt – and Jack Earing, were more than enough to put the game to bed as the team produced the kind of performance we all know they're capable of.

Calculating in front of goal and determined across the backline, the team was able to both take the game to their opponents in attack and resist them in defence as they went in search of goals of their own, with the result seeing the Saddlers climb back into the top-half of the table.

Despite seeing a few regular-starters miss out through injury and illness, many of those who made it onto the field of play entered season-best performances, with the likes of Ash Taylor, Stephen Ward, Liam Kinsella, Jack Earing, and, of course, Otis Khan among those vying for the Man of the Match award.

Entering a team performance which will go a long way to convincing even the most pessimistic of fans that there is something being built at Fortress Bescot, the Reds have given themselves something to build upon as they prepare for the final few games of 2021.

Although the first-team's season appears to be on a steady if inconsistent rise, the same can't be said for the development and academy sides as both are enduring difficult seasons with wins, and overall promising performances, being something of a premium.

With the squad being rather threadbare, there's very little scope for the reserve team to field a line-up made up of players on the fringes of the first-team looking to catch the manager's eye, with Mat Sadler's side often being made up of the odd injury returnee and a selection of under-18s.

Whilst the opportunity for the youngsters to play extra match-minutes against potentially more experienced opposition is hardly something we should complain about, the lack of depth is a cause for concern, especially as the rate of players succumbing to injury continues to fluctuate.

As the club enjoys a proud history of producing players of its own, we're hopeful that some of the current scholars are able to rise to the occasion and maybe even give Matthew Taylor a selection headache over the second-half of the season, but we can't keep on relying on them to fill the void.

With the prospect of the current crop of loanees being recalled in January being very much alive, the club currently doesn't possess the means to replace them. And, although chairman Leigh Pomlett has hinted at the possibility of making some stays permanent, the budget is unlikely to cover all the bases.

As such, the loss of either one, some, or all of our temporary team members would leave a gap in the team and likely lead to a decline in performances with the manager potentially having to draft in players who are already pulling double duty for the youth and reserve teams.

Obviously, we don't know what is happening behind the scenes, and the board has already proven their willingness to back the manager, though with varying degrees of success, but, as the reopening of the Transfer Window nears, we're not exactly optimistic about what the new year may bring.

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