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Walsall's Stephen Ward: Covid break set us back and we need to restart

Experienced full-back Stephen Ward believes Walsall need to ‘press the restart button’ and get back to basics after a winless start to the new year.

Stephen Ward
Stephen Ward

The Saddlers’ 2-0 defeat at in-form Mansfield Town on Saturday made it three games without a win in 2022.

They have also only one won of their last eight outings across all competitions, and they are sitting 15th in the league table – nine points off the play-off places and 10 clear of the drop zone.

“Of course, we’re disappointed,” said Ward, when asked about the mood of the Walsall squad.

“The break we had (in December) and the (three) games being called off with Covid, it really set us back a bit because we were on a really good run before that and playing some really good football.

“To go nearly a month without a game, it was difficult.

“We’ve not got started the way we would’ve liked.

“We need to press the restart button, really.

“We need to get back to basics and doing the right stuff on the training ground, keeping our standards right.

“Hopefully, that hard work on the training ground will bring us the results.

“We’ve got to fight for where we want to be as we still believe we can be in and around that play-off mix.”

Walsall are yet to rack up back-to-back victories this season.

Ward, though, says there is time to turn things around, and he is out to help his team-mates regain some confidence.

“With 22 games to go, we need to get going and go on a run,” he said.

“It’s disappointing we’re on the run we are, and it’s up to myself as an experienced player to help keep spirits high.

“I’ve seen the talent we have, so we need to give them the confidence to get going on the pitch.

“We’ve had games where we’ve played really well, so we need to get back to that.”

Ward, meanwhile, insists the Saddlers need to starting chipping in with goals ‘from all areas’.

Former Wolves man Ward is yet to score since arriving at the Banks’s Stadium last summer, while fellow defenders Hayden White and Rollin Menayese have also failed to find the net.

Skipper Joss Labadie is another who has not scored so far, while top scorer George Miller is on a 14-game barren run.

Walsall have had nine different scorers this season and one of those, Ash Taylor, left last week to join Scottish club Kilmarnock.

Ward added on the goal front: “I think we need goals from all areas.

“As a team, we need to get better at that.

“We’re not scoring enough as a team.

“There’s maybe too much pressure on the shoulders of the front lads.

“We need to start getting goals from all different angles.

“We understand that, and we’ll see what happens.”

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