Today we face a Newport team, that are flying in the league. It is a game where few are expecting us to come away with anything. However, it is a game that we want to see some fight and spirit in the side, after two poor performances.
The hosts have been in fine form this season. They are 3 points clear at the top of the league, with a game in hand on Cheltenham in 2nd. They have won 9, and only lost 2, and scored 20 goals. Things don’t look good for Walsall when looking at Newport’s defence, as they have only conceded on 10 occasions. It is strange to see that their top league scorer only has 3 goals, and makes me concerned that they have threats all over the pitch, if this is the case.
Newport play a 3-5-2, with wing-backs, and an attacking midfielder to support the strikers. What they do well, is commit players both offensively, and defensively. The wing-backs are key. Their discipline means that going forward they really bolster the attack, but they are quick to track back, and prevent being left short defensively.
There are a couple of key players in this side. Ryan Haynes is key down that left side, and has been a consistent performer. James Devitt has not featured much this season, however he has chipped in with a couple of goals, and if he plays, will be an important player for Newport. They will be physical, as is expected with any Newport side, however this is coupled with a more technically abled side. This combination has seen them perform well in the league, and of course, the cups too.
We come into this game with 4 defeats in a row behind us, however only 2 were in the league. Our big criticism of the team is the lack of creativity, and with a team with a tight defence, it is tough to see where goals will come from. It is a night where players must step up, and show some fight in them, because it has felt as though it has been lacking of late.
I said earlier in the week, that I feel Holden needs to be in the middle, and tonight’s line-up should push him centrally, if we want to break this team down. I don’t know who would come in at RM, if Holden is moved, but I for the benefit of the side, he needs to play in that No10 role. Defensively, I would lile Rose and Sadler to come in. Heads dropped after the first goal on Saturday, and we lacked leadership at the back, something Sadler would add.
In the midfield, I wouldn’t expect to see Osadebe, after a showing that many of us were unimpressed with. After that, I don’t really know who could/might play, but whoever does, I want to see fight and desire to do well.
This is a game we are expected to lose. Our opponents are in-form, we are not. If we lose, I want to see the team giving their all, leaving everything they have on the pitch, and give fans a performance to actually be proud of, because at the moment, fans are struggling.
It is a 7pm kick-off, so please don’t tune in at 7.45, as it’ll be half-time. We are away from home, so Walsall will recieve every match pass after 500 have been sold.
In terms of personel, Walsall will still be without Josh Gordon. Alfie Bates will be available after a 1-match suspension, James Clarke was on the bench on Saturday, so he is available, and George Nurse could also miss out again, after Clarke confirmed Nurse has a tendon injury.