Express & Star

Walsall receive Joe Riley boost as injury not as bad as feared

Walsall have had some welcome news on the injury front as a knock picked up by Joe Riley is not as bad as first feared.

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The Saddlers – who lost 3-0 to Coventry City at Bescot this evening – have been without Riley for their last three pre-season friendlies.

It was originally thought the summer signing from League Two rivals Carlisle United could face months on the sidelines, but he is now due to return to Michael Flynn's group.

“We’ve had some good news with Joe Riley,” said Flynn.

“His scan results have come back clear. He was one we were fearing could be out for three months.”

Flynn still has Conor Wilkinson, Joss Labadie, Jack Earing, Liam Gordon and Oisin McEntee in the treatment room.

“It’s been a crazy chain of events I haven’t seen anywhere else as a manager,” added Flynn.

“They've been crazy injuries, but Joe’s back.”

Flynn, meanwhile, says he was encouraged by elements of Walsall's display against the Sky Blues despite the scoreline.

The Saddlers looked bright going forward against the Championship side but failed to take their opportunities while the Championship visitors were clinical – Kasey Palmer, Josh Eccles and Fabio Tavares the scorers.

"We're getting there. In this heat, the boys that have done 90 minutes, fair play to them as it was warm just on the touchline," said Flynn.

"There were a lot of positives. The goals conceded were negatives, but we're seeing a lot more of what the players' understanding of the game is.

"There's one or two we'll need to work on. It's just an unfamiliarity with how they've been coached before. We'll get there."