Walsall boss Darrell Clarke: Josh Gordon is a grafter
Walsall boss Darrell Clarke has hailed 'grafter' Josh Gordon after the striker netted a hattrick in the EFL Trophy against Forest Green Rovers.
The 25-year-old put in an impressive performance as the Saddlers completed a 6-0 rout over the League Two leaders to top Southern Group D and advance to the knockout stages of the tournament.
And after previously criticising some of his players' mindset, Clarke insists Gordon has a strong mind to match his work on the pitch.
"We all know what Josh is about, he's a hard worker, he's a grafter," he said.
"Goals have been a missing ingredient.
"It's a results business and we haven't been clinical so it's nice that we have (in this game).
"I don't have a problem with Josh's mental strength to be honest, I think he's a hardened, toughened lad.
"Josh will be the first one to tell you that he wants to be in the team scoring goals.
"It's important that the strikers, like Josh, gain confidence from that.
"I've got four strikers who will get plenty of opportunities to get on the run of scoring goals."
Alongside Gordon's trio of strikes, Wes McDonald, Liam Kinsella and Cameron Norman also got on the scoresheet and Clarke was pleased with his players taking more responsibility in front of goal.
"It helps when we shoot a little more doesn't it," he added.
"It's amazing when we get end product, crosses and shots, you score goals.
"It's no rocket science is it - people have to put themselves in the situation.
"Kins (Liam Kinsella) has scored a great goal after turning down a couple opportunities on Saturday to score.
"He's got a great strike on him, hopefully that gives him a little bit of confidence as well because the midfielders have to chip in with goals.
"You have to get goals throughout your team to be successful.
"There's a lot of weight on the strikers at the minute because they've been missing the key chances.
"But it also helps when other members of the team take that responsibility."
He continued: "There isn't a problem with the lads' effort, desire and application.
"I've got all the stats, they're running, they're hitting the levels that they need to be.
"The boys are training really hard, grafting.
"We just have to be better in both boxes and then you start building on runs.
"I don't think there's ever been a problem with the work rate of the team."