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Heckingbottom's Walsall Reaction

5 March 2016

The Reds won their eleventh game in 13 to move into the play-off positions in League One. Paul Heckingbottom gave his thoughts after an excellent victory for his side.

Ashley Fletcher, Josh Brownhill and Harry Chapman scored the goals in a 3-1 win away at fellow play-off hopefuls Walsall. 

“It’s a great victory away from home at someone higher above us in the league.” He said. “The performance was a game of two halves. We were second best first half, but Fletch (Ashley Fletcher) scored a great goal in an area of the pitch we did say we would get some joy. Our analysts watched their games which is their job, and credit to them. 

“I thought we were miles off first half. There just wasn’t enough intensity there, we needed to press higher up the pitch and win the ball in their half. Then the other part we thought we were giving the ball away too cheaply. 

“That’s what was said at half time, pass the ball and work hard, play with intensity to win the ball back.

“I might watch it back and think it was an even half but there were lots of things frustrating us that we thought we could get better at. 

"To credit the players, they knew that at half time. It wasn’t a case of ranting and raving, it was specific points that we knew would help us.”

With the scores level at half-time following Fletcher’s early strike being cancelled out by Tom Bradshaw, the Reds came out second half and blew their opponents away with two quick-fire goals, which Heckingbottom described as “fantastic”.

He said, “I thought the goals were fantastic and in terms of quality, we showed it. We passed the ball better, had more energy to our game and won the ball higher up the pitch and scored a couple of fantastic goals. We’re very, very pleased with that, but there’s other areas we want to get better at.

“They were fantastic goals and we know we have that quality in our team so it’s frustrating when we don’t show it. We know it’s difficult as the opposition set up to try and stop us now, teams are knowing our strengths and what we’re good at but I’m delighted for the lads. 

“Fletch has done well since he has come back in the starting eleven, Browny (Josh Brownhill) did well all game and so did Harry Chapman. He was a threat on the counter attack, his understanding of the game was very good. 

“He’s (Chapman) got a good head on young shoulders and the positions he took off the ball caused them problems. It was his anticipation and positioning that enabled him to counter and score a great goal.

“Walsall are a good team and they managed to get shots off on our goal which we thought we were a little bit loose at times and made it easy for them, but as a whole we were much better second half and deserved it.”

With players returning from injury and Adam Hammill coming back from suspension against Southend, Heckingbottom was asked if he will face a selection problem.

“Everyone has been coming off the bench and performing” He explained. “We’re going to look at it as an opportunity for every player. If we think the team needs freshening up we have a full squad of players there good enough, and hungry enough to win games.”

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