Time for the talking to stop. The staff and players at Walsall FC must now start walking the walk.
The Saddlers face fellow relegation rivals Bradford City hoping to stop the rot of five consecutive defeats – a sixth will have major implications on Dean Keates as manager and our battle against the drop.
This is the biggest game of the season so far.
Walsall boss Dean Keates has ripped up the training ground plans this week hoping to change the Saddlers fortunes, how that transpires to his team selection we have no idea.
George Dobson and Morgan Ferrier are still nursing hamstring injuries so it remains to be seen whether they will feature. Keates has to decide whether to recall Luke Leahy and Jon Guthrie following their omission from the team last weekend.
Sean Scannell continues to step up his recovery after nearly five months out with a fractured back. However he wont be back in time for Saturday’s game.
LIKELY LINE UPS?
Picking the Walsall line up lately is like picking the winning numbers on the lottery but here goes…
Walsall – Roberts, Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Leahy, Ismail, Kinsella, Osbourne, Jarvis, Cook, Oteh
Bradford – O’Donnell, Caddis, Knight-Percival, O’Connor, Chicksen, Butterfield, O’Brien, Ball, Clarke, Payne, Doyle
ONES TO WATCH
ANDY COOK (WALSALL)
We need to start improving service to the big man if we are to have any chance of staying in League 1. Cookie has scored sixteen league goals in a struggling side.
JACK PAYNE (BRADFORD)
If there was one midfielder I would want the Saddlers to sign it would be Jack Payne. Since returning to the Bantams on loan (from Huddersfield) Payne has scored nine goals and grabbed three assists in thirty appearances.
- Walsall and Bradford have failed to score in their last three games.
- The Saddlers have lost their last five league games. Bradford have drawn three out their last five.
- Bradford have only conceded once in three games, Saddlers have conceded six.
- Form (last five) – Walsall – LLLLL Bradford – DLDWD
The Saddlers and the Bantams have met on forty-eight occasions – Walsall 13, Draw 20, Bradford 15.
Bradford have won three of the last six games between both sides – other three ending in a draw.
You need to go back to 28th November 2015 for the last time the Saddlers defeated Bradford – with goals coming from Tom Bradshaw and Milan Lalkovic in a 2-1 victory.
Our last five home games v Bradford
26.08.17 – Walsall 3-3 Bradford
17.12.16 – Walsall 1-1 Bradford
28.11.15 – Walsall 2-1 Bradford
16.08.14 – Walsall 0-0 Bradford
05.10.13 – Walsall 0-2 Bradford
REFEREE – BRETT HUXTABLE
LINESMEN – Declan Ford and Ian Dudley
FOURTH OFFICIAL – Abbas Khan
Huxtable has officiated thirty games so far this season, dishing out one hundred and five yellow cards, five red cards and awarding five penalties.
Huxtable has officiated three games involving the Saddlers with us winning one, drawing one and losing one.
His last game was our 2-1 victory against Oxford in January 2018.
Walsall and Bradford love a draw against each other here. Three of the last six have ended in stalemate. With both teams fighting for their lives you could easily see another D between the two sides. A point will be no good for neither side but it would stop our rot of defeats heading to Burton next weekend.
VITAL PREDICTION – WALSALL 1-1 Bradford
Saturday 2nd March
Sky Bet League 1
Burton v WALSALL