Express & Star

Mat Sadler: Walsall can hurt teams

Mat Sadler believes Walsall's 3-1 defeat over Bradford City at Valley Parade serves as evidence that they can hurt teams.

Head coach Mat Sadler

Andy Cook opened the scoring from the spot on 22 minutes, after Joe Riley was adjudged to have fouled Rayhaan Tulloch, despite it looking like it was outside the box.

But Liam Gordon equalised three minutes later, before Aramide Oteh sent Walsall into the break ahead. Freddie Draper added a third in the second half, and Sadler was pleased with the performance.

"A good away performance. What it will hopefully do is give the lads evidence and that real belief of who they are, what they can do, and how they can hurt teams," Sadler said.

"Barring what I thought wasn't a penalty because it was outside the box. But other than that moment, I thought we were pretty much in control throughout the game.

"The way that we defended those key moments was superb and the way that we broke on them repeatedly. But it was a fantastic away performance and we thoroughly deserved that."

The Saddlers ended a run of back-to-back defeats, and have now collected two wins from three on the road, after not winning any of their previous 15 away league matches.

Draper notched his fourth of the season, but was forced off injured for the final 15 minutes.

Sadler is hopeful that Draper will not miss any action, although he was unable to confirm whether he will be available for Tuesday with it being so soon after the game.

"We caught it early so it should be fine. We've got to be careful with Freddie because we're expected a hell of a lot from such a young lad," he revealed.

"Hopefully [he'll be ok for Tuesday]. I haven't spoken in there so I don't know."

Harry Williams shone at the back by stifling the threat of Cook, while Ross Tierney registered two assists in an impressive individual performance.

Sadler also hailed the influence of club captain Donervon Daniels.

He added: "I spoke to him before the game and in the week building up to it, and I said, 'do you believe in yourself?'

"And I am so glad that he has shown the evidence of what a fantastic centre-back he can and will be. I thought he was fantastic today, both him and Donervon.

"Donervon is captain fantastic and he is the bedrock of the team, and having Harry around him today, he was brilliant."

"Ross was involved with everything. He just does horrible things. He steals the ball off people, he gets in and around, and he must be a nightmare to play against."