Express & Star

Mat Sadler taking the positives out of Walsall set backs

Mat Sadler is optimistic that Walsall will continue to grow, regardless of whether they miss out on the League Two play-offs or not.

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Saddlers squandered the opportunity to climb into the top seven, as they blew a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 against Bradford City at Bescot on Saturday.

That result left the Saddlers two points adrift of the play-off spots, while they will be officially knocked out of the race altogether if Doncaster Rovers beat Colchester United and Barrow draw against Bradford City on Tuesday.

Sadler’s men have collected 44 points during the last 25 games – a tally only bettered by four teams – but 11 points from the last 30 available has left their play-off dream in peril.

Nevertheless, Sadler believes Walsall’s latest setback will only make them stronger next season.

He said: “Michael Jordan says about how many times he missed a shot in a game. It’s true, you have to feel failure to then come out the other side of it.

“That’s the emotion we’ll feel at the moment and what we’ll feel right now. But it’ll make it even sweeter when we achieve what we know we’re going to achieve.

“We see it as another step on our journey. The group and the club are going in the right direction.

“There’s been some amazing success stories within my group and within the club. We’ll continue to keep shouting about those whatever happens.”

Sadler made two changes against Bradford as goalkeeper Jackson Smith made his comeback from concussion and midfielder Brandon Comley returned from suspension at the expense of Owen Evans and Ross Tierney respectively.

Norwich City loanee Emmanuel Adegboyega was not included in the squad for the third consecutive game, while January signing Jamie Jellis was also absent.

But Sadler revealed that the pair were both available for selection amid a number of selection headaches.

“It’s a sign of the squad we’ve got. Manny (Adegboyega), Jamie (Jellis), Rollin (Menayese), Rem (Oteh), Joe Riley,” the Walsall boss added.

“Oisin (McEntee) did his work on the pitch before the game. We’ve amassed a really good squad this season and a lot of them are fit at the same time towards the end of the season, which hasn’t been the case for large spells of it.”