We make the short journey to Oxford this Saturday hoping for a reaction from the squad following last Saturday’s 4-1 home to defeat to Doncaster.
Oxford currently sit 23rd in the League 1 table and pressure is already mounting on the their new boss Karl Robinson.
Walsall boss Dean Keates will have decisions to make following the heavy defeat last Saturday. I would imagine he will probably go back to the favoured 4-5-1 formation which grabbed a point against Barnsley in our last away fixture.
Long term absentees Joe Edwards and Korey Roberts are missing.
Marcus Browne and Jamie Mackie have been declared unfit this week so Karl Robinson has just fifteen senior players to choose from.
Youngster Fabio Lopes (knee) is also in a treatment room which includes the likes of Rob Hall, Simon Eastwood and Samir Carruthers.
LIKELY LINE UPS?
Walsall – Roberts, Devlin, Guthrie, Fitzwater, Leahy, Ismail, Dobson, Osbourne, Ronan, Ginnelly, Cook
Oxford – Mitchell, Norman, Nelson, Mousinho, Garbutt, Branagan, Baptiste, Whyte, Henry, Holmes, Obika
GAVIN WHYTE (OXFORD)
The Northern Ireland international has enjoyed his start at Oxford United – scoring three goals in five games. Whyte who can play on the wing or up front joined the U’s from Crusaders for an undisclosed fee.
ANDY COOK (WALSALL)
We felt his goal against Barnsley would spur him on in our last league game but he didn’t get the service. This has been the issue over the past few weeks where the supply to Cook just hasn’t been good enough. Get the ball on his head or into dangerous positions and he will score goals. With Oxford unable to keep a clean sheet for love nor money all eyes will be on Cookie to add to his tally.
The Saddlers have faced Oxford on thirty two occasions. Walsall 8, Draw 8, Oxford 16
The last time the two sides met came in January where the Saddlers won 2-1 thanks to goals from Bakayoko and Oztumer. The last time both sides met at Oxford saw the Saddlers grab our first away win in about 100 attempts.
The Saddlers have not lost in our last four against the U’s
Our last five away games v Oxford
23.09.17 – Oxford 1-2 Walsall
31.12.16 – Oxford 0-0 Walsall
13.01.01 – Oxford 2-1 Walsall
17.02.1996 – Oxford 3-2 Walsall
27.03.1989 – Oxford 2-0 Walsall
REFREE – ALAN YOUNG
Linesmen – SIMON SHAW & GARY MASKELL
Fourth Official – Buphinder Gill
With Saturday’s official finally out of our minds we turn our attentions to Alan Young who will officiate this weekends fixture.
Young has officiated eight games so far this season, dishing out twenty six yellow cards, two reds and awarding two penalties.
Young is yet to officiate a game involving the Saddlers as this is his first season in the Football League.
Oxford are struggling, like really struggling despite many tipping them for a promotion push this season. With just fifteen senior players available to Karl Robinson they face an uphill task against a Saddlers side yet to taste defeat on our travels this season.
VITAL PREDICTION – OXFORD 1-2 WALSALL
Saturday 29th September
Sky Bet League 1
Walsall v Accrington Stanley