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Match Previews

WALSALL VS. GILLINGHAM: MATCH PREVIEW

31 October 2015

A top-of-the-table clash this afternoon...

WALSALL VS. GILLINGHAM
Banks’s Stadium
Saturday, 31st October 2015 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One

OVERVIEW:
Second entertains first in League One’s game of the weekend. The Saddlers, with one defeat in nine, are two points behind leaders Gillingham, who are unbeaten in six. Walsall conceded four last Saturday but still possess the division’s meanest defence (12 goals against), although Gillingham have the second best attack (29 goals scored). The last six meetings have finished in draws.

LEAGUE STANDINGS:
Walsall: 2nd – P15 W8 D5 L2 F25 A12 PTS29
Gillingham: 1st – P15 W9 D4 L2 F29 A15 PTS31

LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
Walsall: DWLWD
Gillingham: DWWWD

LAST TIME OUT:
Saturday, 24th October – Colchester 4-4 Walsall
James O’Connor’s injury-time equaliser preserved Walsall’s unbeaten away record. Romaine Sawyers, Milan Lalkovic and George Evans also netted for the Saddlers, who led 2-0 at half-time but later trailed 4-3.
Team:MacGillivray, Demetriou, Downing, Evans (Flanagan 87’), Taylor, Forde (Cook 62’), Chambers, O’Connor, Lalkovic (Morris 62’), Bradshaw, Sawyers.
Subs not used: Jezeph, Baxendale, Preston, Kinsella.


Saturday, 24th October – Gillingham 1-1 Southend
Doug Loft’s late goal salvaged a point for the Gills after Steve McLaughlin’s early lob had put Southend ahead.
Team:Nelson, Jackson (Osadabe 82’), Egan, Lennon, Garmston (Loft 71’), Houghton (McDonald 58’), Morris, McGlashan, Dack, Donnelly, Dickensen.
Subs not used: Ehmer, Hessenthaler, Williamson, Morris.


HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD:
Walsall wins: 41
Gillingham wins: 45
Draws: 22

LAST MEETING:
Sunday, 1st February 2015 – Walsall 1-1 Gillingham

Ashley Grimes scored his first goal in Walsall colours to earn the Saddlers a draw against managerless Gillingham. Bradley Dack’s calm finish put the Gills in front midway through the second half, but Grimes drilled home the Saddlers’ leveller just five minutes later.

GILLINGHAM MANAGER:
Justin Edinburgh
– The ex-Tottenham defender was appointed Gillingham manager in February 2015 and has won 19 of his 36 matches at the helm. Edinburgh, who spent ten years at White Hart Lane, masterminded Newport’s promotion to the Football League in 2012/13. The 45-year-old has also managed Billericay Town, Fisher Athletic, Grays Athletic and Rushden & Diamonds.

GILLINGHAM STAR MAN:
Bradley Dack
– A former Charlton academy player, the 21-year-old midfielder has scored seven goals for Gillingham in all competitions this season. Dack, who played on loan for non-league side Braintree in 2012/13, joined the Gills at the age of 14 and has made over 100 competitive appearances for the Kent Club.

VIEW FROM THE GILLINGHAM CAMP:
Justin Edinburgh (on playing Walsall)
– “I’m sure no-one would have expected ourselves, Walsall or Burton to be in the top three going into the last weekend of October but we are certainly there on merit. It’s a nice lead to have, we want to maintain that and we don’t want to give up that top position. We are proud of what we are achieving and where we are but we know how hard we have to work, we’ve had two really good performances on the road of late and we’ll look to make that a hat-trick.”

WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Rico Henry is fit after recovering from an ankle injury. Neil Etheridge is in contention after having his stitches removed from his knee on Thursday. Sam Mantom (high ankle sprain) is out for a few weeks, while Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is likely to be injured until the new year.

REFEREE:
Darren Drysdale (from Lincolnshire).

STAT OF THE DAY:
Walsall have not lost at home to Gillingham since 22nd February 1992 - a run stretching back 15 matches (W9 D6).

TODAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES: (3.00pm unless stated)
Bury vs. Blackpool
Coventry vs. Peterborough
Crewe vs. Sheff Utd
Doncaster vs. Colchester
Fleetwood vs. Chesterfield
Millwall vs. Bradford
Oldham vs. Burton
Port Vale vs. Shrewsbury
Scunthorpe vs. Barnsley
Southend vs. Rochdale
Wigan vs. Swindon

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