Express & Star

Leyton Orient v Walsall: Tom Knowles ready to open floodgates after first strike

Tom Knowles is loving life at Walsall and eager to prove a point as they head to League Two leaders Leyton Orient.


Knowles – snapped up from non-league Yeovil Town in the summer – has made a bright start with the Saddlers and finally opened his account in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Colchester United.

The 23-year-old had threatened to get off the mark for several weeks and, after the relief of that first goal, he is determined to keep firing.

He also wants Walsall to end their winless run and make a big statement by handing Orient their first loss of the campaign tomorrow.

“I’m really enjoying it. I’m very thankful for the gaffer and Trivela to get me in here,” said Knowles. “I’ve loved every single minute of it so far.

“Although the results haven’t been the best recently, I’ve got no doubt that they’re going to come.

“We’re going to keep working hard on the pitch and hopefully those draws will turn into wins.”

And on if he is looking forward to testing himself against Orient, he added: “Yes, brilliant. It’s one of those games.

“They’re doing well, and we want to be up there doing the same thing.

“If we want to be up there doing that, we’ve got to go there and show them why we should be there.

“We’re going to have confidence and, hopefully, go there and get all three points.”

The Saddlers will know they cannot afford to repeat their first-half display against Colchester, while they will take heart from the second-half outing that saw Knowles smash home with his left foot.

“From a personal point of view, I’m happy to score, but there’s also that part of me that’s really disappointed we didn’t win,” said Knowles. “I drove forward with the ball, managed to get a good shot away and it crept into the bottom corner, so I’m happy with that.

“It’s been frustrating the past couple of weeks as I’ve been getting in good positions and getting the chances but just not taking them.

“It’s been frustrating but I’ve tried really hard to push through and get goals.

“One’s come now, so hopefully there’ll be a few more to follow.

“But like I’ve said, we should be picking up three points and we’ve probably let them off the hook a little bit.”

Walsall boss Michael Flynn has a few selection headaches going into this clash – Peter Clarke and Jack Earing perhaps in line to return to the side.

Jacob Maddox, if deemed fit enough, could start after a superb outing as a substitute against the U’s.

Knowles looks a shoo-in to start and has vowed to always give everything he has.

He added: “You don’t need ability or talent to work hard. That’s first and foremost, that should be for any footballer.

“With the ball, I just try to make things happen and create chances – get the fans on the edge of their seats.”