The Saddlers return to league action this weekend...
Saturday, 29th August 2015 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One
Walsall will be hoping to make it six successive victories in all competitions against bottom-of-the-table Blackpool. The second-placed Saddlers can go top of League One if they better the result of leaders Gillingham, who are away to Peterborough. Blackpool, meanwhile, endured a difficult campaign in 2014/15 - being relegated from the Championship with a joint-record low points tally (26) - and are winless in their last 23 competitive matches.
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
Saturday, 22nd August – Sheffield United 2-0 Blackpool
Goals from Billy Sharp and Marc McNulty condemned the Seasiders to a fourth consecutive defeat in league and cup.
Team: Letheren, Boyce, Aldred, Robertson, Ferguson, McAllister, Oliver (Cubero Loira 79’), Potts, Cameron (Redshaw 68’), Cullen (Thomas 79’), Osayi-Samuel. Subs not used: Jones, Boney, Dunne, Higham.
Tuesday, 25th August – Walsall 2-1 Brighton – Capital One Cup Second Round
Second-half strikes from Milan Lalkovic and Rico Henry booked the Saddlers’ place in the League Cup third round for the first time in 13 years. Jake Forster-Caskey’s contentious first-half penalty put Brighton in front, and Chris O’Grady missed a second spot-kick for the Seagulls with the score at 1-1.
Team: Etheridge, Demetriou, Downing (Preston 58’), O’Connor, Henry, Lalkovic (Cook 76’), Mantom, Chambers, Morris, Flanagan (Sawyers 62’), Bradshaw. Subs not used: Taylor, Baxendale, Forde, MacGillivray.
Blackpool wins: 15
Walsall wins: 18
Saturday, 1st April 2006 – Blackpool 2-0 Walsall
Two goals in nine second-half minutes from Gareth Williams and Keith Southern gave the Seasiders a 2-0 victory at Bloomfield Road. That season, Blackpool finished 19th in League One, while the Saddlers were relegated in 24th.
Neil McDonald – The 49-year-old took the managerial reins at Bloomfield Road in June 2015, succeeding Lee Clark. McDonald, who worked alongside Sam Allardyce at West Ham, Blackburn and Bolton, has also managed Carlisle and Swedish side Ostersunds FK.
BLACKPOOL STAR MAN:
Mark Cullen – The 23-year-old striker bagged a brace on his Blackpool debut – a 2-2 opening day draw at Colchester. He was signed in the summer from League Two Luton, with whom he won the Conference Premier title in 2013/14. Cullen started his career at Hull, and has also played on loan at Bradford, Bury and Stockport.
VIEW FROM THE BLACKPOOL CAMP:
Neil McDonald (on playing Walsall): – “They’re going well. I went to the game the other night against Brighton and they played very well. They’re a hard working team so it’s going to be a difficult game for us, but all games are difficult. They’re near the top of the league and are full of confidence. We need to exploit their weaknesses, which they have, and defend better to try and get that clean sheet.”
Blackpool: Colin Doyle, John Herron and Jarrett Rivers are out.
Walsall: No injury concerns.
STAT OF THE DAY:
The Saddlers have not won their opening three away league matches since the 2000/01 title-winning season.
SATURDAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES: (3.00pm unless stated)
Bradford vs. Port Vale
Bury vs. Oldham
Colchester vs. Scunthorpe
Doncaster vs. Fleetwood
Millwall vs. Chesterfield
Peterborough vs. Gillingham
Rochdale vs. Barnsley
Shrewsbury vs. Burton
Swindon vs. Sheffield United
Wigan vs. Crewe