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Match Previews

PREVIEW: WALSALL (H)

29 August 2014

In the fifth game of the Sky Bet League One season, the Iron host Walsall at Glanford Park.

It is the second of three matches at the ground in the space of a week, following the Capital One Cup match with Reading and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy match with Chesterfield on Tuesday evening.

The loss to Reading was much undeserved, after the Iron put on an impressive show in front of the Iron faithful, against a side managed by former Claret and Blue boss Nigel Adkins.

While most of the squad came through the match unscathed, Russ Wilcox did confirm Deon Burton would join Sam Slocombe, James Severn, David Mirfin and Dave Syers on the ever-growing injury list with a knee problem.

For the visit of Walsall, two players welcomed back into the squad will be Luke O’Neill and Billy Kee. The on-loan right-back wasn’t given permission to play in the League Cup tie by his parent club Burnley and striker Kee had already played in the previous round so was cup-tied.

“We can take confidence from the [Reading match] into Saturday but we have to go out and do the same again,” Russ Wilcox told The Iron Player looking ahead to the clash.
 
“Walsall will be tough, Dean Smith’s an experienced manager in League One.

“It’s his fourth season I believe and he knows what it’s about. He’s done an unbelievable job on the budget he’s had over the years and to get them into the top half of the table is an amazing feat so it will be difficult.”

Our visitors arrive at Glanford Park in a much healthier position since Smith first took over the reigns in 2011. He has made them look up and aim high, rather than staring down at the relegation zone.

Walsall were in the top half of the table last year until a dreadful run in the second half of the campaign hampered their chances, but they are more than capable this term as Smith has recruited heavily and even paid a transfer fee for the first time as boss of the Saddlers.

They have been ever-presents in the last five years, turning into a stabilised League One outfit and they are now ready to push on.

They also have a great eye for talent- Watford forward Troy Deeney came through the ranks there and highly rated Football League players such as Will Grigg only left the club in recent years.

Iron midfielder Nicky Featherstone is a former Walsall player - he left the club in the summer after two years. In that time he played over 60 games in a period where he enjoyed playing football under a very good “man-manager.”

The Banks’s Stadium and Glanford Park are separated by 107 miles and the last meeting between the two clubs was not long ago- the 2012/13 season in League One.

The Iron were unbeaten against the Saddlers, as we drew at Glanford Park before winning on the road at Walsall with a 4-1 scoreline.

The clubs’ overall head-to-head record is: The Iron have won 12 times, drawn 15 and lost on 13 occasions in 40 meetings.

See our betting preview for the league’s official sponsor’s betting markets for the game.

If you can’t make it to Glanford Park for the return of league football, keep track of the action by tuning into the club’s official social media channels or keep an eye on events on the website, with live updates available from kick-off.

Elsewhere in the division, Tuesday’s opponents Chesterfield will visit Port Vale, while:
Colchester v Peterborough
Doncaster v Oldham
Fleetwood v Leyton Orient
Gillingham v Crewe
MK Dons v Crawley
Preston v Sheff Utd
Rochdale v Bradford
Scunthorpe v Walsall
Swindon v Coventry
Yeovil v Barnsley
Notts County v Bristol City (Sunday)

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