Date: 29th September 2011 at 9:45pm
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While sat writing this article, my eyes were repeatedly drawn to the tele as I watched Only Fools and Horses and suddenly a revelation hit me like a ton of bricks. Despite the fact we have not won for 5 games, despite the fact that I sat helplessly giggling as Trig, Del and Rodney sat in the Nag`s head discussing what the government would do to block up the inevitable universe-ending black hole that will one day consume us all and despite the fact I have a girlfriend, an embarrassing number of classic box-set and films and a good number of alternative things to do with my Saturday afternoon; I still find myself excited like a school boy at the prospect of seeing my team play. We do not compete in Europe, we don`t challenge for honours and we`re pretty bloody awful, to be honest, but Walsall Football Club is my team and it is when we`re on runs like this that the club needs the fans to really get behind them and help them to stop the rot.

We return home after a disappointing day out in Colchester, last weekend, to face Carlisle United in a massive, massive game. Although the season is still young and a win or a loss will probably not make too much difference in the long run in terms of points, the lads need to win this game. We took a thoroughly undeserved point from our last game at home and Deano has had 2 weeks to gear the boys up for the task of playing in front of the faithful once again. If we can get a good result, against a very beatable Carlisle, it could give us a real kick-start as we move into one of the biggest months of the season. October is crammed full of fixtures against the sort of teams we have a real chance of beating and starting the month with a win will give the club a, much needed, renewed sense of belief.

I hear you cry “Dan what threats do Carlisle possess?” Fear not good reader, I shall divulge. In JP McGovern, Carlisle have someone who knows League One like the back of his hand and he could hold the key to unlocking our defence. If they can find that key pass or spark of creativity in midfield, I would bet good money that Lee Miller will probably find the net. With 5 goals in 5 league games this season he is a formidable frontman and is pretty friendly with the Bescot nets after scoring in his only previous game at the Banks`, scoring for Notts County when they smashed us 3-0 last January. Aside from those two, there are a couple of young lads who jump out at me from the Carlisle squad. Liam Noble is a young midfielder on loan from Sunderland and he is a superb talent. He had a spell with United last season and they were delighted to capture him on loan again this season. He has already netted for the Blues this season and he is another one who could pose us a real problem. Last, but by no means least, of my danger-men is young Tom Taiwo. In 2006, he turned down a scholarship at everybody`s favourite Yorkshire club (Leeds) in favour of a move to Chelsea and, along with recent Walsall trialist Michael Woods, he earned rave reviews for the London club`s youth team. A loan spell at Carlisle in 2009/10, convinced the northerners to snap up the Leeds-born midfielder on a two and a half year deal. He took his opportunity with United with real authority and played a part in every single league and cup fixture for the club last season, including their triumphant victory over Brentford in the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy final. He is a player I greatly admire and even if we don`t get the victory tomorrow I will still enjoy the chance to see the young man put in an all-action display in midfield.

We are long overdue for a victory but we are missing the captain this week and that could make Lee Miller a very happy man. Manny and Lancashire will do a fine job at the back in Butler`s absence but when the captain is on form there aren`t many in the football league that are better in his position and, for all their body-on-the-line defending, neither Manny or Olly are quite as good as Butler. Paterson was denied a fair crack of the whip last week due to us going a man down and he will be chomping at the bit to make amends on Saturday. He is an exciting player and he could be the one to provide the bit of spark we have been severely lacking of late. On top of Paterson, we have Macken back to full fitness up front and, along with Grigg, he will always be a threat at any time from any range. Carlisle come into this game on the back of a 1-0 win whereas we come into it on the back of a controversial 1-0 defeat. Form is not on our side but I remain optimistic and there is nowhere else I would rather be on Saturday afternoon than watching us throw away a 7-0 lead in the last minute of 9 minutes injury time.

We aren`t very good at the moment but this bad run can`t last forever and I can only hope that Saturday`s the day we get the break. If the lads can produce the kind of football Deano has got out of them in the past then we are capable of beating Carlisle quite comfortably but we will have to play well and they may have to do us a favour and miss a few chances. They have a good side and their defence is a well drilled unit but I still have to back us at home. I`ll go 1-0 to the Saddlers and Macken to get a massive winning goal. Come on you Reds!!!


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