If you feel depressed and demoralised supporting Walsall recently then a nice trip to Gillingham this Saturday followed by a trip to Plymouth on Tuesday night will sort you right out…..OK maybe not.
The Saddlers have the chance to distance ourselves from the drop zone as we face Gillingham, Plymouth and Rochdale in our next three games – failure to win any of these will send our already despondent fanbase into hysterics.
Walsall have signed right back Cameron Norman and former Saddler Scott Laird ahead of tomorrows game, however we have lost defenders Russell Martin and Jack Fitzwater from the previous match preview
Dean Keates will have a head ache (well not really) on who to pick in defence, the midfield will probably see us revert to five across the middle as Keatesy will be hoping to gain a point at least. I can probably see Jarvis and Gordon on the wing with Edwards, Kinsella and Dobson across the middle.
Keates will still be without injured stars Adam Chambers and Korey Roberts.
If there’s a time our shakey defence must face one of the most in form strikers in League 1, now might not be the time. However the defence must face Tom Eaves on Saturday and I just shudder thinking of the outcome…he was missing from the squad last weekend so hopefully he isnt fit enough to play.
Max Ehmer (shoulder) and Barry Fuller are back in training after injuries but the defenders will have to wait to reclaim their places in the side. Regan Charles-Cook is fit again after hamstring trouble but fellow midfielders Billy Bingham and Dean Parrett (hamstring) are not yet ready to return to contention.
LIKELY LINE UPS?
Walsall – Roberts, Norman, Guthrie, Johnson, Laird, Gordon, Kinsella, Edwards, Dobson, Gordon, Jarvis, Cook
Gillingham – Holy, Lacey, Zakuani, Ogilvie, O’Neill, Byrne, Reilly, Garmston, Charles-Cook, List, Eaves
ONES TO WATCH
TOM EAVES (GILLINGHAM)
If he starts then Tom Eaves will no doubt fancy his chances against a frail Walsall back line. Eaves has been in superb form this season scoring fifteen goals.
Eaves has scored over thirty goals in his last two seasons and is being monitored by Championship clubs – hes come along way from missing that open goal for Shrewsbury against us!
MATT JARVIS (WALSALL)
Jarvis has already proven his quality by providing two assists since his arrival on loan from Norwich. Jarvis will be looking to get in on the act as he faces his former club.
This will be the 116th meeting between both sides – Gillingham winning 47, drawing 24 and Walsall winning 44.
The last time both sides met at Priestfield ended in a dull 0-0 draw. The Saddlers have not lost at Priestfield in our last six visits.
Our last five away games v Gillingham
17.02.18 – Gillingham 0-0 Walsall
18.10.16 – Gillingham 1-1 Walsall
12.04.16 – Gillingham 1-2 Walsall
20.09.14 – Gillingham 0-0 Walsall
29.12.13 – Gillingham 2-2 Walsall
REFEREE – DARREN DRYSDALE
LINESMEN – Thomas Ramsey and Richard Kendall
FOURTH OFFICIAL – Paul Lister
When it seems like everything is going against you the EFL appoint Darren Drysdale to officiate your game! The Saddlers have a shocking record when Drysdale has officiated – winning just two of the fourteen games.
Our most recent away game under Drysdale came against Coventry in 2017 – where he sent off Eoghan O’Connell and the Saddlers went down 1-0.
Drysdale has officiated a game involving Walsall and Gillingham before – that came in October 2015 where the Saddlers came from 2-0 down to defeat Gillingham 3-2 with goals from Morris, Lalkovic and that injury time winner by Jason Demetriou!
We have not lost at Gillingham on our last six visits and given the noise around the club and with a fans focus meeting on Monday this has all the markings of us grabbing something. Our first half performance against Bolton proves we can turn up and deliver however we have got to stop conceding stupid goals.
VITAL PREDICTION – GILLINGHAM 1-1 WALSALL
Tuesday 22nd January
Sky Bet League 1
Plymouth v WALSALL