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Opposition View: James Baxendale

7 February 2015

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Doncaster-born midfielder James Baxendale will be one of 3 ex Rovers players returning to the Keepmoat with his Walsall side....

The 22 year old spent one season with Doncaster before opting for the Midlands, but as he spoke to, he admitted he did keep an eye out on Rovers’ fortunes.

Well done on getting to Wembley in the JPT, how does it feel?
We’re delighted, and on a personal level at such a young age, it’s every footballers dream to get there and to go and have a chance of winning a trophy is really nice.

Did you ever imagine, when you were a kid, walking out at Wembley?
Of course you do, that’s the dream and that’s why you do it when you’re on the park as a youngster and hopefully I can live it.

You’ve just passed the 100 appearances mark for the Saddlers, it seems as though things are going really well for you…
Yeah, it’s been good, we play a good brand of football here and I’ve got games which I’ve really enjoyed so that’s good. We’ve got a good group of lads, spearheaded by the Chambers boys really – James and Adam are great characters – and it will be nice for them to lead us out at Wembley.

Dean Smith is one of the longest serving managers in the country; he seems to want to play good football too…
The club has bought in to giving youngsters a chance and the brand of football that we do play, it’s got us the results and we always seem to end the season up there pushing and we keep producing good young talents.

Do you still keep an eye on Doncaster’s results?
Yeah I look most weeks, being a local lad I’ve got family and friends that support the club and I’ll get to the odd game when I can. I went to Barnsley to watch them earlier in the season and I always have a little look, I’m still fond of the club.

Since Doncaster have played Walsall, Andy Butler has swapped sides, what do you make of that?
He’s a local lad, isn’t he and it seems like he’s becoming a bit of a ‘hometown hero’ so I’m pleased for him, he’s a top man who helped me a lot and he’s a great character who I wish all the best.

What are you expecting this Saturday?
Tough game, really. It’s nip and tuck for the play offs and will be like that for the rest of the season. The top four seem to be sprinting away with it but after that the last couple of play-off places are up for grabs and ourselves and Doncaster will be right up there looking for it, we just need to steal a march.
Points wise it’s very tight and if we could get an away victory then it’d deflate Doncaster a little bit so we’re coming to get a result.

All three James’ (yourself, Chambers and O’Connor) are well thought of as former Rovers players – is that pleasing?
Yeah it’s nice. Jimmy [O’Connor] has won the JPT with Doncaster and has fond memories from that and I’ve been with James [Chambers] about four years now, we had a trip to Hereford and are now together at Walsall and they speak really highly of Doncaster, they enjoyed their time there and I wouldn’t have minded staying a little bit longer!

Do you have any regrets over leaving?
You never know, football changes and I’ve moved and got games which is probably the best thing I ever did. I’ve gone to Walsall and I fit in and I’m playing a lot of games in a very good side so the way it went was positive for me in a way.

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