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Matt Taylor: Nothing to hide in Ash Taylor's Walsall exit

Walsall chief Matt Taylor has clarified the circumstances surrounding Ash Taylor’s exit and says there is ‘nothing to hide’.

Walsall manager Matt Taylor.
Walsall manager Matt Taylor.

The Saddlers terminated centre-half Taylor’s contract by mutual consent last Friday, allowing him to join Scottish side Kilmarnock.

He played for his new club against Partick Thistle that night, despite missing Walsall’s loss at Stevenage the previous Saturday having tested positive for Covid-19.

That led to questions from fans over the reality of the situation.

When asked what happened, Saddlers chief Taylor said: “I’ve never lied to you once, and I never will. At 6.54am that Saturday morning, I got a text from the physio to tell me that Ash had tested positive for Covid – because his wife had had Covid.

“OK, not a problem. I then get told on the Tuesday that his PCR test has come back negative. So, then he could come back into the building.

“Great, came back into the building, (but) what I can’t guarantee Ash is first-team football. He made the decision that he wanted to go and seek first-team football elsewhere.

“That’s the reality. That’s the truth. I have nothing to hide from anybody.

“I understand the way that it looks, but unfortunately, with the way Covid is now, we couldn’t take the chance of him bringing it into the building.

“You get a PCR, and you wait for that to come. We did that, and it came back negative.

“My plan was to have him back in with the group, and then the decision was made.

“You want people who want to be here and fight for their position. That goes for anybody.

“If they turn around and say there’s something else and they want to go, then OK – as long as it works and protects what is important, which is the football club.

“I’m hopeful that this week we’ll be able to add to the squad, because obviously we want to.”

Walsall, meanwhile, were without Otis Khan as they lost 2-0 at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

Taylor said that was due to illness and nothing to do with Khan’s contract situation – his current terms expiring in a matter of days.

On Khan and a possible new deal, Taylor added: “The contract negotiations are out of my hands.

“They’re with Otis’ people and the football club.

“Would I like Otis to stay? Yes, he’s done well for us.

“But Otis needs to make that decision.

“He’s not here because at 8am, I was told he’d been up all night being sick and was ill, so that’s where we are. He was due to be in the squad.

“That’s the truth. I understand there’ll be hearsay, but I have no reason to tell any untruths.”

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