The smile said it all. Ian Roper is back in the Walsall team and he has no intention of givingup his place without a fight.
The 28-year-old defender made a welcome return to first-team action last weekend, playing an integral role in Walsall's 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers.
A string of niggling injuries had kept Roper on the sidelines but his presence seemed to inspire the team.
"It's taken me a while to get my first start of the season out of the way but I'd say I'm pretty much 100 per cent fit now," Roper said. "The first 20 minutes or so were a bit of a blow on Saturday but after that, I adjusted to the pace and felt alright.
"The more games I get under my belt, the sharper I'll be so I'm just concentrating on keeping my place in the side. We needed the win against Doncaster to boost the confidence a bit."
Significantly, with Roper in the team, Walsall recorded their first clean sheet since the 0-0 draw with Brentford in September. Now, as the team prepare for tomorrow's trip to Barnsley, the defender is hoping for a similar performance and a similar outcome.
"This League is full of tough games and this will be another, but a win will take us above them, so there's a lot to play for," he said.