Express & Star

Donervon Daniels proud of Walsall teammate

Donervon Daniels says he is "proud" of Owen Evans for overcoming a challenging season at Walsall.


Evans, who is coming towards the end of his second season at the club, started the campaign as first-choice between the sticks.

He played every minute in League Two prior to his calf injury in November before Jackson Smith seized his opportunity in the team.

The Welshman would have to wait almost two months for his next appearance and he was sent off a fortnight later in a dismal 3-0 defeat against Newport County.

Walsall went six games without defeat once Smith was recalled, including a run of five consecutive wins, which propelled them into the play-off picture.

The 27-year-old has started the past three games with Smith sidelined due to concussion and produced two vital saves during Walsall's 2-1 win over Swindon Town on Tuesday night.

Daniels feels some of the criticism levelled at Evans has been unfair but praised his teammate for fighting through challenges.

He said: "The criticism has been way too much," he said. "Owen has been an incredible servant to this football club since he has walked through the door.

"He gives his all every single time he goes out on the pitch. He is a top goalkeeper but competition brings the best out of individuals.

"This season, Owen has had someone in Jackson who has pushed him and Jackson has stood up to the challenge and taken his opportunity.

"Jackson has performed extremely well every single time he has been called upon but we're in this position now where Owen is back in goal and he has steadily brought himself back to his best.

"He played incredibly well on Tuesday night, making an extremely good save towards the end of the match which kept us on level terms.

"I am proud of him. To go through what he has gone through, take it on the chin, be a man and concentrate on his own personal development to now push us forward as a back unit and a team."