Express & Star

Mat Sadler: The Walsall recovery starts here

Mat Sadler believes Walsall have made the first step to recovering from a challenging period after coming from behind to beat Notts County 2-1 at Meadow Lane.


Aden Baldwin headed the Magpies into the lead just past the half-hour mark, but Walsall recovered with Oisin McEntee's first career brace completing the turnaround in the second half.

Walsall ended a six-match winless run in League Two, and climbed to 16th place, and nine points clear of the drop zone.

But Sadler has now set his players the challenge of taking that momentum into the upcoming fixtures - starting with the FA Cup second round replay against Alfreton on Tuesday.

Sadler said: "I am pleased that the lads did what they did for them, for us, and for the supporters. I don't remain upbeat with you guys every week for no reason.

"I do it because I know we've got a good squad and a good team, and I know results will turn, but I also recognise we've gone through a challenging period.

"Of course, I do, but I also never lost doubt that we'd come out of the challenging period. That's the first step of that, and now we need to back it up."

McEntee stole the headlines with his two goals, and also ended the Saddlers' three-match goal drought in the league.

But the performances across the pitch, especially during the second half, showed both a real fight and determination which has perhaps been lacking in recent weeks.

"I thought Coms, Stirky and Oisin were the bedrock of our game," he added.

"I spoke about it yesterday that the most important players in the game were going to be our two eights, and our two outside centre-halfs because if they step in, and they do their job, then they gave us the platform to move forward in the game.

"They did that, and some. Oisin popped up with the goals, which he deserved, and I know he has got goals in his game."

Co-chairman Ben Boycott is over from the United States and issued a statement on Friday afternoon to address the club's recent struggles.

Boycott emphasized the need for immediate results to improve, and also vowed to invest in the January transfer window.

And Sadler insists he is grateful for the support he has received from both Boycott and Leigh Pomlett during such a challenging period.

"Me and Ben have got a fantastic working relationship, and I think we've got a fantastic relationship in general," he revealed.

"He is a person who I really enjoy the conversations we have. It's really nice to have him here in person, and he's an incredibly supportive chairman, as is Leigh (Pomlett).

"They've both been incredibly supportive and we look forward to some good times together. We're at a football club which is building, we'll piece things in and we'll piece things out.

"That's the way we're going to approach it and I won't be dettered from the fact that that is exactly what we're doing."

Walsall did suffer another injury blow in the first half when Ross Tierney hobbled off with a hamstring problem.

Tierney only made his return against Alfreton Town on Tuesday night, and will now be assessed over the coming days.

"I am gutted about that. We got through it on Tuesday, and I thought we were the other side of it. But unfortunately for whatever reason, he has had a reoccurence of it," he confirmed.

"We look to see what the assessment is on that, and hopefully it's not as bad as the initial one was."