It’s no secret that Walsall hotshot Tom Bradshaw is expected to be among the goals this season. Last night, he got his season up and running with a first career hat-trick against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Bradshaw will now want to push on and achieve the ambitions he set his team before the opening whistle was blown. “I really believe we will be competing at the right end of League One. Everyone is in good form, knows what is expected and is solely focused on winning promotion. In pre-season we have been very strong and gave both Villa and Albion a really good run for their money. I feel we have improved dramatically since last season, and I think the fans saw that in both those games and in the win at Luton”.
The emphatic win over Nottingham Forest will only boost the Welshman’s confidence. He is well on his way to overcoming last campaigns 20 goal total. Despite being primarily recognized for his blistering pace, and poaching ability in front of goal, Bradshaw is a much more diverse player than meets the eye. Headed goals against Preston, MK Dons and Brentford, three of the Football League’s finest I must add, proved the 23-year-old’s aerial prowess. Something that is pivotal for him to become the complete striker that we all know he has the potential to become.
His sensational hat-trick against Championship opposition, will live long in the memory of many Walsall supporters. “It couldn’t have been a better finish to a game of football. We’ve created a lot more chances already in our games this season. It’s down to the way the boys want to play and how many attacking players we have in the squad. Bradshaw spoke to BBC Sport concluding the final whistle. “To come here and score four against a good Championship side shows our intent for the rest of the season. It was a special moment for my self and for my family and it’s great for the club to be in Round 2.”
The Saddlers Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exploits of last term will spur them on for another lucrative cup run. In financial terms, getting to a quarter final or even round of 16 of a major cup competition would significantly increase the clubs transfer budget. Incoming transfers have been sluggish throughout the summer, with just three new names entering the Banks’ Stadium. Neil Etheridge, Jason Demitriou and fellow forward Milan Lalkovic.
The latter will lift the pressure on Bradshaw shoulders, who would otherwise be the only senior striker to hit double figures. The former Chelsea trainee had a previous loan stint with the West Midlands club, netting 6 times. Manager Dean Smith will be in no doubt that the Slovakian will add goals the Walsall’s frontline and act as a much needed strike partner for the Saddlers star man.