Date: 30th July 2017 at 2:45pm
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The Saddlers will travel to Gigg Lane for what looks like an incredibly difficult start to the new season. The Shakers have been working hard throughout the Summer to mould a squad that can mount a credible promotion challenge. From the outside it may seem that Bury are going ‘all or bust’ for promotion this season, but they’ve actually moved on a lot of players who would probably command decent wages and who were getting on a bit. The likes of Tom Pope, Anthony Kay and Jacob Mellis have departed, with Jermaine Beckford, Chris Maguire and Jay O’Shea among those arriving through the door. The one departure that will be harder than most to replace will be top-scorer James Vaughan, who has left to join Sunderland.

Many are tipping Bury for a strong season and it’s hard to disagree. However, Lee Clark still has a lot to prove as a manager and they may just miss out on a play-off spot.

Vital Walsall prediction: 7th

16/17 finish: 19th

Promotion odds: 8/1 SkyBet

Manager: Lee Clark

16/17 top scorer: James Vaughan (24)

Transfers in:

Jermaine Beckford
Stephen Dawson
Phil Edwards
Chris Humphrey
Joe Murphy
Eoghan O’Connell
Jay O’Shea
Joe Skarz
Adam Thompson
Tom Aldred
Chris Maguire
Nicky Ajose (loan)
Tom Heardman (loan)

Transfers out:

Paul Caddis
George Miller
James Vaughan
Will Ferry
Ben Williams
Paul Rachubka
Tom Pope
Jermaine Pennant
Ishmael Miller
Jacob Mellis
Niall Maher
Jack Mackreth
Rob Lainton
Antony Kay
Hallam Hope
Kelvin Etuhu
Anthony Dudley
Reece Brown
Chris Brown
Leon Barnett