We are back!
After a very very long summer we are finally back with our first match preview of the season.
The Saddlers have a new chairman, a new manager, new coaching staff and have signed fourteen players – it’s been quiet hasn’t it?!
1,452 Saddlers fans will be on the march as we have sold out our entire away allocation. Absolutely unheard of for a side which has been relegated – a sign that everyone is believing in the new era.
The Cobblers have also had a high volume of arrivals this summer having signed twelve players
Matty Warburton was the first name through the door in May but he was quickly followed by the likes of Chris Lines, Joe Martin and Harry Smith before Curle stepped it up a notch by swooping for Luton’s Alan McCormack and former Sixfields favourite Nicky Adams.
Northampton have lost valuable players mind with the departures of Aaron Pierre and John Joe-O’Toole
The Saddlers will give debuts to at least six new signings. With James Clarke leading the side out as captain.
Kory Roberts is still on recovery following his ACL injury last summer and should be back within the next two months.
LIKELY LINE UPS?
Northampton– Arnold, Hall-Johnson, Goode, Turnbull, Martin, Hoskins, McCormack, Lines, Adams, Warburton, Smith
Walsall – Roberts, Norman, Clarke, Scarr, Sadler, Pring, Kinsella, Guthrie, Sinclair, Gordon, Adebayo
ONES TO WATCH
HARRY SMITH (NORTHAMPTON)
Smith signed for the Cobblers this summer for an undisclosed fee from Macclesfield Town. Smith scored ten goals for the Silkmen last season.
STUART SINCLAIR (WALSALL)
Our very own midfield viking has impressed Saddlers fans during the summer and is already the obvious choice for POTY. Sinclair never stops running and his goal against Aston Villa gives us confidence that we may get goals from other areas of the pitch this season.
The Saddlers and Northampton have met on eighty-two occasions – Walsall 34, Draw 16, Northampton 32
Northampton have won their last two games against the Saddlers at Sixfields. However the Saddlers won the previous four at Sixfields before those two victories.
The last time both sides met at Sixfields came in December 2017 where Erhun Oztumer scored within two minutes but two goals from Chris Long saw the Cobblers run out winners.
The last time the two sides met in the league came in April 2018. That ninetieth minute goal by George Dobson relegated Northampton and all but kept the Saddlers in League 1 for another year.
Our last five away games v Northampton
16.12.17 – Northampton 2-1 Walsall
10.09.16 – Northampton 2-0 Walsall
21.02.09 – Northampton 0-2 Walsall
24.11.07 – Northampton 0-2 Walsall
05.05.01 – Northampton 0-3 Walsall
The match officials have been announced for the weekend and it increases our confidence some more, as we have not lost when he has officiated a game involving the Saddlers.
Officials v Northampton are as follows
REFEREE – NICHOLAS KINSELEY
Christopher Husband and Joseph Stokes
Fourth Official: George Byrne
Kinseley has officiated three games involving the Saddlers and we are yet to taste defeat yet – winning one and drawing two.
His most recent game involving the Saddlers came in March 2017 where we drew 1-1 with Charlton at the Valley.
Our solo win came in October 2016 where we defeated Shrewsbury Town 3-2 at the Banks’s Stadium.
Kinseley officiated twenty-four games last season, issuing seventy-four yellow cards, two reds and awarding eight penalties.
VITAL PREDICTION – NORTHAMPTON 1-1 WALSALL
The euphoria of the past week normally ends in a whimper where Walsall are concerned but given Clarke wont allow his team to shut off I expect a resolute opening day display. A point at Northampton wouldn’t be a bad way to start our League 2 campaign.
Saturday 10th August – 3pm
Sky Bet League 2
WALSALL v Forest Green Rovers