13:55 19th February 2016
by Daniel Briggs
A top-of-the-table League One clash...
Sean O’Driscoll admits Walsall face a difficult test against fellow promotion contenders Wigan tomorrow - but insists his side are looking forward to the challenge.
The Saddlers are third in the division, one point and one place ahead of Gary Caldwell’s in-form Latics, who are unbeaten in ten.
And O’Driscoll believes all the ingredients are in place for an exciting game.
“It’ll be a challenge for the boys and we know looking at the fixtures coming up there are going to be some big games,” said Walsall's head coach.
“Wigan are arguably the strongest team in the division with their budget and the amount of players they have available.
“Their expectations are really high and there’s an added pressure on them to get out of this division. They’ll have these games every week.
“For us, it’s a great challenge and I think everyone is looking forward to it.
“If we get two really good teams going at each other, playing as well as they can, then it should be a really good game.”
Despite the high-profile nature of tomorrow’s match, O’Driscoll insists this week’s pre-match preparations have been the same as usual.
“They’re a very down to earth group and they understand what they need to do week in, week out,” he said.
“The preparation has been exactly the same.
“We’ve tried to concentrate on what we’ve been doing well and what we can improve on, and the strengths of a very impressive Wigan team.”
Walsall’s 15-goal top-scorer Tom Bradshaw and experienced centre-back James O’Connor are both doubts for the Wigan clash.
O’Driscoll says Bradshaw is suffering from “bumps and bruises” sustained over the course of the season, while O’Connor is struggling to recover from a dead leg.
“Tom’s the one who gets whacked more than anyone else,” O’Driscoll added.
“He’s got one or two bumps and bruises so we’re wrapping him up in cotton wool. He’s trained very sparingly all week.
"Jim is touch and go with his thigh. With important games coming up, it’s a balancing act, do you risk somebody?
“Tom is desperate to play, as is Jim.
"But we need them for the rest of the season and if it means resting them for one game to get them back for 13 or 14 others then common sense prevails."