There is a sense of optimism for the first time in ages as Dean Keates takes charge of his first game in charge as Walsall manager against League 1 promotion hopefuls Wigan.
Cook ‘We need to let it sink in, and pick ourselves up for Wednesday night at Walsall. “We`ll come in on Monday and regroup, because I think that`s very important. “But disappointment is huge in football, and it can drive you on. “We`ve given a great account of ourselves against four Premier League teams now, and the Man City game will live long in the memory.’
Walsall Team News:
Will be very interesting to see how Keates will line up the Saddlers in his first game in charge. Apart from long term absentee Joe Edwards, the Saddlers have a fully strength squad to choose from.
Player to watch: Erhun Oztumer
Oz has nine games left of his Walsall career and despite some suggesting hes been off the boil lately he has still managed to score fifteen goals this season and finds himself fourth in the leading goalscoring charts, Keates jokingly compared Oz to himself yesterday (height wise) so hopefully a new manager can persuade the Turkish Messi to stay – I doubt it though!
Wigan Team News:
With Wigan playing in the FA Cup just two days ago it remains to be seen whether they will rest players with a game coming up at the weekend.
Player to watch: Will Grigg
Wigan have a whole squad of talent who you could choose as player to watch but with him facing his old club you have to go for Grigg.
Grigg has a habit of scoring against his former club with the Northern Ireland international netting twice in the reverse fixture.
Match Facts & Stats
Walsall have lost four of their last five league games.
Wigan on the other hand have won three out their last five in the league.
Wigan won the match the last time these sides met at The Banks’s Stadium in 2016 with goals from McAleny and Wildschut.
Before the victory in 2016, The Saddlers had won their last three meetings here.
The Saddlers have lost their last two at home, but before that had won three on the spin.
Wigan have lost just once in their last fourteen on their travels.
Wednesday’s match sees John Brooks take charge of affairs, and he will be ably or otherwise assisted by Richard Bartlett and Michael Denton on the lines. Christopher Sarginson is fourth official.
It would be Roy of the Rovers stuff if the Saddlers were to overthrow Wigan on the night local boy Dean Keates takes his first match but if you are a neutral or thinking with your head you would have to go with a Wigan win.
Vital Prediction – Walsall 1-1 Wigan
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