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Walsall v Gillingham preview: Michael Flynn looks for big finish to get momentum going

Walsall boss Michael Flynn admits frustration at the way the season has gone – both now and as a whole.

Walsall boss Michael Flynn on the touchline against Swindon Town on Tuesday night, a game in which Joe Riley made his first start for the club after injury
Walsall boss Michael Flynn on the touchline against Swindon Town on Tuesday night, a game in which Joe Riley made his first start for the club after injury

The Saddlers have been on a rollercoaster ride of a campaign which saw them go nine games without a win in the league early on before a run of just one defeat in 10 raised hopes of them getting in the end-of-season play-offs.

That, coupled with a run to the FA Cup fourth round when they went out to Premier League Leicester, means things have rarely been dull around the Bescot Stadium in recent months this season.

But fans have expressed concerns recently about the season ‘petering out’ and have made their frustrations felt at times.

With his team without a win in 12 league games going into the Gillingham match, Flynn said he would take a scrappy 1-0 win at the moment if it meant his team getting on the scoresheet with three points.

He said: “It has been frustrating at times but I think there will always be things sent to test you and you either feel sorry for yourself or get on with it and I am in the latter camp, as are the players.

“We have had the Danny Johnson saga where we really tried hard to sign him, Liam Bennett as well, who was recalled by his parent club.

“We would have liked to have kept both of them obviously but that is the loan system, you sometimes take your chances with it.

“Then signing Jamille (Matt), who got injured, we have yet to see the best of him.

“We have had other ones as well – Matty Stevens has taken some games to regain match fitness – it has been frustrating at times especially when you just think you are on a run and something comes along like an injury or a sudden lack of form.

“But we are all really working hard to overcome the present run we are in – I think the fans saw against Swindon that we had the better chance to win the game where there weren’t many, although it was an entertaining 0-0.

“But that is not good enough in itself, we need to finish the season strongly and with a run of wins and goals.

“The fans have backed us all the way this season and they deserve that at least, plus it will give us momentum to go into next season.

“The intention is obviously to be challenging then, as it was this season, but this one was always going to be the start of a bigger plan, so it is vital we finish it well and take it into the next one.”

Flynn welcomed Joe Riley back for his first start against Swindon since a return from long-term injury and said he would be in contention for the Gillingham game.

He said: “It was good for Joe to get a full 90 minutes under his belt – he is returning from injury to some sort of fitness and returning fully to match fitness .

“I was pleased for him to continue towards that and I thought he performed well – I hope we will see more of him before the end of the season.”

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