Express & Star

Cheltenham Town v Walsall: Liam Kinsella wants trophy win to kick-start season

Walsall stalwart Liam Kinsella hopes tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy clash with Cheltenham Town proves to be a turning point.


The Saddlers, having started the season with a bang, are now on a nine-game winless run across all competitions.

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Leyton Orient leaves them 15th in League Two and getting back up the table is the main priority for Michael Flynn’s men.

First up, though, is this Trophy outing and a chance to regain some much-needed momentum.

Victory over League One outfit Cheltenham – albeit both teams will rotate their squads – could be just the tonic.

“It’s a good thing, having another game coming around quickly,” said Kinsella.

“We can put Saturday to bed and focus on Cheltenham, and it’d be good to get out there and got those first three points in the group stage.

“It’s a game of football, and we want to win every game we go into.

“The confidence is there, but it would get confidence higher in the dressing room.

“A win and some goals, and we’d be able to take that into Saturday.”

Walsall could hardly have asked for a better start to the campaign as they beat Hartlepool United 4-0 on the opening day.

Two more wins followed, but the current stretch without a victory has seen Flynn’s charges repeatedly lack ruthlessness at both ends of the pitch.

It is a trend they cannot afford to continue at Whaddon Road if they are to do anything in the Trophy.

They sit bottom of Southern Group C having lost 1-0 to West Ham Under-21s last time out in the competition and another loss would seriously dent their chances of progressing into the knockout stages.

Reflecting on the campaign thus far, Kinsella said: “We had a fantastic start.

“There’s been games this season where we’ve played really well and not ended up getting the three points – ended up drawing or losing the game.

“It’s been a tough one to take on a few occasions. The performances are there, but it’s just not going for us in this run.

“It’s that lapse of concentration in both boxes that’s going against us at the moment.”

Walsall are set to make changes – but just how many they can make is limited by their injury situation.

Flynn will hope to have Tom Knowles back from a sickness bug while Hayden White and Douglas James-Taylor could return from head and back issues.

Danny Cashman is likely to make his first start for the Saddlers.

Cheltenham, meanwhile, appear set to make wholesale changes with League One their main focus – currently being 20th in the division.

“Cheltenham are going to be a good team, no matter what team they put out. We’ve got to go there, put in a performance and get the three points,” added Kinsella.

“If we put the ball in the back of the net, we’ll be flying.”