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Match Previews

Walsall Preview

24 October 2014

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The Spireites travel to Walsall on Saturday afternoon bidding to get back to winning ways following the midweek disappointment at Colchester United.

Dean Smith’s Walsall are currently embarking on a five match win-less run which has seen them lose four of those games, drawing only to League One table toppers Bristol City.

Regardless of the struggle for a recent victory, the Saddlers have taken the scalp of pre-season favourites Preston North End and Doncaster Rovers in their only league wins this campaign, showing that they are more than capable of beating the best on their day.

Under the guidance of Smith, the Saddlers have been able to challenge for the play-off positions in both of the previous two campaigns, but with Walsall currently occupying the unfamiliar position of 23rd, the Midlands club may find their work cut out to reach such heights again this season.

Spireites manager Paul Cook looked ahead to the match, and is excited about locking horns with his Walsall managerial counterpart.

He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to watch Walsall’s youth team. It’s really shocked me that Dean hasn’t been linked to jobs, because he’s done a fantastic job. 

"They’re bringing good, young players through not with the firepower or wages of other teams, but consistently bringing through very good players. 

"They beat Preston 3-0 and drew with Bristol City, and that will tell our supporters that we are going to have our hands full tomorrow.”

Despite summer recruit Tom Bradshaw netting five times for the club, Smith’s men are the lowest scorers in League One this season with just eleven goals to their name, even after scoring three goals on two separate occasions.

Bradshaw gives the Saddlers a boost ahead of tomorrow’s game, as he returns from a knee injury, whereas fan favourite Sam Mantom is expected to be involved following his appearance off the bench at Crawley in midweek.

Reflecting on the defeat at Colchester United, Paul Cook thought that the performance wasn’t the worst he’s seen this season, although his side were far from the best. 

He said: “It was one of those games that you felt during the warm-up that it was a night to get a result. It was never going to be a night where you could get the ball down and play, but it wasn’t our worst performance of the season, and it certainly wasn’t our best.”

Following the defeat against Tony Humes’ side, the Spireites slipped down to tenth place in the table, a game which was played without midfielder Gary Roberts, and Paul Cook has said Roberts as unlikely to make the squad.

Cook said: “Roberts trained this morning and he is very much touch-and-go. I’ve got to be careful because I want to play lads such as Gardner and Banks, but to play them all at once now is a bit of a risk with match fitness.”

Oscar Gobern signed on loan for the Spireites from Huddersfield Town on Thursday, and Cook says that both Gobern and Dan Gardner will start the game at the Banks’ Stadium.

Cook said: “Oscar is going to start in the deep lying role. He can tackle, break play up, but he’s a little too aggressive at times. 

"We want a bit more devilment about us. Dan Gardner is starting as well tomorrow. We want to hurt teams with pace and energy."


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