In our opinion this is our biggest game of the season so far. A real chance to see how far this team can go as we travel to newly relegated Barnsley.
This should be called the “strange club derby” following comments from then Barnsley CEO who labelled us a strange club for not disclosing Tom Bradshaw’s fee when he left us to join the Tykes two years ago – the same player moved from Barnsley to Millwall this summer and his future transfer fee has also been labelled “undisclosed”.
We do owe Barnsley one though for defeating us in the League 1 play-off semi finals….yes it still hurts!
Walsall boss Dean Keates welcomes new additions Connor Ronan and Connor Johnson into his first league squad. Josh Ginnelly has trained all week so should be fit to return.
Liam Kinsella is the only short term absentee having been called up for international duty. Joe Edwards and Kory Roberts are still out with long term injuries.
Barnsley will face us without their number one keeper Adam Davies. Davies has been called up to the Welsh squad for their United Nations League fixtures.
Midfielder Kenny Dougall is also out representing Australia.
Left-back Zeki Fryers is started training next week but may be a game too early, winger Ryan Hedges is still two to three weeks away from a return.
LIKELY LINE UPS?
Walsall – Roberts, Devlin, Guthrie, Fitzwater, Leahy, Ismail, Dobson, Osbourne, Ginnelly, Cook, Ferrier
Barnsley – Walton, Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsey, Pinillos, Bahre, Potts, Mowatt, Thiam, Moncur, Moore
JOSH GINNELLY (WALSALL)
What a return it has been for Josh. He is much more mature since his loan spell here and it showed how much we missed him during our 0-0 draw with Blackpool. Ginnelly’s crossing ability is needed in every game and also his cover for Luke Leahy when he bombs forward. Ginnelly has already scored two goals this season.
KIEFFER MOORE (BARNSLEY)
I have always been a big admirer of Moore and vaguely remember him ripping us to pieces when he played for Rotherham.
Moore has scored six goals already this season – all six have come in his last three games! Fitzwater and Guthrie will have to be on their toes all afternoon!
The Saddlers have faced Barnsley on forty-seven occasions. Walsall 16, Draw 13, Barnsley 18
The last time the two sides met came in the League 1 play-off semi finals where Barnsley hammered us 3-0 at Oakwell.
The Saddlers have won just once in our last nine visits to Oakwell.
Our last five away games v Barnsley
14.05.16 – Barnsley 3-0 Walsall
20.10.15 – Barnsley 0-2 Walsall
07.03.15 – Barnsley 3-0 Walsall
07.01.06 – Barnsley 1-1 Walsall
29.10.05 – Barnsley 2-1 Walsall
REFEREE – CRAIG HICKS
Linesmen – Gareth Mellor and Abbas Khan
Fourth Official – Scott Oldham
So far this season Hicks has officiated six games and has dished out twenty-three yellow cards and one red. He has also awarded one penalty.
Last season Hicks officiated forty games where he showed one hundred and twenty-eight yellow cards, six red cards and awarded eleven penalties.
Hicks is yet to officiated a game involving the Saddlers.
We have predicted four out the first seven games correctly however we are going with our heart for this one and think we may be wrong. The Saddlers love scoring goals but we also enjoy conceding late goals and making life difficult for ourselves. I’m expecting an early Saddlers goal before Barnsley come at us in the second half. We will hold onto a point though.
VITAL PREDICTION – Barnsley 1-1 Walsall
Saturday 15th September (15:00)
Sky Bet League 1
WALSALL v Doncaster