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Walsall chief Matt Taylor aiming to give the fans something to cheer

Walsall boss Matt Taylor has told his players they must put in a display that resembles the club’s ‘fantastic’ supporters at in-form Mansfield Town tomorrow.

Matt Taylor has been impressed by the show of support from the terraces
Matt Taylor has been impressed by the show of support from the terraces

The Saddlers suffered a woeful 3-1 defeat on the road at Stevenage last weekend, thanks in no small part to a nightmare first half.

Still, they are going to be backed by more than 570 fans at Field Mill – adding to a long list of impressive away followings.

And Taylor is determined to give a performance the loyal travelling faithful can be proud of.

He said on the support his players have received: “It’s been brilliant.

“It’s fantastic. I was on YouTube and looking at some footage of our fans at Port Vale.

“They were on the concourse, singing songs and having fun. I watched it, and you could see how much it means to people. It’s hugely important.

“I’m really over the moon with them and can’t thank them enough.

“I know that when it comes to the players, it really drives them on.

“What it does is make the players feel pressure, which is great. We’ve got support that is invaluable behind us.

“You often find away from home there’s a smaller number than the home fans, but they always seem louder.

“That passion they show every time that they come to follow us, especially away from home, is invaluable for us as a group.

“It’s invaluable for me as a coach, and even more so for the players.

“They feed off it, so I’m over the moon we’ve got more than 500 of our fans coming to follow us at the weekend.

“What we can’t do is put in a performance that’s lacklustre and doesn’t resemble our fans.

“The more time I spend in the area, the more you get to understand the people and what their values are. One thing I can guarantee is the team that takes to the field are under no illusions – it’s got to be one of our hardest-working performances to try to get a result.”

Walsall are looking to bounce back from last week’s woeful show at Stevenage

Walsall are tasked with halting Mansfield’s five-match winning run in League Two, and Taylor hopes his men will rise to the challenge.

They have previously performed well against the division’s better sides, while consistently falling short against the lesser lights.

Taylor said on Mansfield: “They’ve got a settled team. They are performing consistently, which is what we’re trying to gain from our players.

“They’re a good team – hard-working and combative. It’s going to be a really tough game.

“The pitch isn’t particularly great, so we’ll have to deal with that, as will Mansfield.

“It’s a good game and one I’m very much looking forward to.”

Tom Leak could make his first league outing of the campaign at centre-half – Hayden White having struggled while filling in there at Stevenage.

Walsall chief Taylor added: “The players, this week, they’ve trained harder than they’ve ever trained.

“That’s the reaction they’ve given and the reaction I’m after.

“Our mindset needs to be stronger for this game. It’s the mental toughness I’m interested in.

“It’s watching the team take risks, back each other – somebody running for someone who’s out of position. It’s about understanding how important that is.”

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