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Adaptability the key for Walsall as injuries clear

Walsall boss Michael Flynn is hoping increased competition for places will not only keep players on their toes but offer him more tactical options.

Michael Flynn looks on during defeat to Tranmere (Owen Russell)
Michael Flynn looks on during defeat to Tranmere (Owen Russell)

The Saddlers’ injury list is slowly easing after stream of of players were forced on to the sidelines, particularly in the midfield area.

Jack Earing came back at Carlisle last week and is fit again as is defender Oisin McEntee and Liam Kinsella has recovered from a knock and is ready to play again.

Liam Gordon is now in the squad and featuring regularly although Joss Labadie is still injured and Conor Wilkinson in non-contact training.

Flynn said: “The situation is looking a lot better because at times this season we have had Jack, Joss and Joe Riley out of the midfield and they are the type of players you want to be pushing each other to play.

“Having said that, we have had Isaac Hutchinson, Jacob Maddox and Liam Kinsella all doing reasonably well in those positions.

“But when we have a fully fit midfield, or indeed squad generally, it is going to be good to see the competition for places – it gives me a nice problem.

“Tactically as well, they all have different qualities.

“Isaac and Jacob being more creative and Brandon (Comley) and Liam being more defensively-minded, people have had to fill in those roles in recent weeks or months and we have done reasonably well considering that.

“Joe and Joss are more box-to-box so we have a little bit of everything in there.

“When they are all back, it will be good to have options because any manager will tell you that is a good problem to have.

“In modern management, you have to be adaptable – whether that is adapting to the injury situation, the way other teams play or tweaking your own style when the teams is not winning and having versatile players certainly helps with that.

“We have had to be direct at times whilst playing some decent stuff – at Carlisle we controlled the ball in the second half and even played some good football. It wasn’t a case of having to lump it forward to launch an attack.

“We are a decent team and not far off from being a very good team as I said after the Carlisle game. But I feel when the injury situation has cleared up, it will give us the options to push on and become the latter, with strength in reserve.”

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