A crucial match in our race for promotion...
Saturday, 23rd April 2016 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One
Promotion-chasing Walsall will be hoping to close the gap on second-placed Burton with victory at play-off hopefuls Bradford this weekend. The Saddlers were held to a draw by Swindon in midweek but have been in fine form since Jon Whitney took charge, winning five of his eight matches at the helm. Phil Parkinson’s Bantams, who are just four points behind Walsall in fifth, need a positive result to consolidate their play-off place. The Valley Parade club have been strong defensively this term, conceding just 40 goals (the joint second fewest) and keeping 19 clean sheets (only Burton with 20 have kept more).
Bradford: 5th – P43 W20 D11 L12 F48 A40 PTS71
Walsall: 3rd – P42 W21 D12 L9 F61 A43 PTS75
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
19th April – Coventry 1-0 Bradford – League One
Substitute Andy Rose scored with his first touch as Coventry edged past Bradford, who had Stephen Davies dismissed for violent conduct.
Team:Williams, Darby, N Clarke (Hanson 86’), Burke, Meredith, McMahon (Morais 70’), Cullen, Evans, Reid, B Clarke (Davies 69’), Proctor.
Subs not used: Thorpe, McArdle, Morris, Cracknell.
19th April – Walsall 1-1 Swindon – League One
Substitute Kieron Morris' second-half equaliser earned Walsall a precious point against mid-table Swindon. Michael Doughty had put Swindon ahead just before the hour mark.
Team:Etheridge, Demetriou (Kinsella 52’), Downing, Pennington, Henry, Chambers, Mantom, Forde (Morris 68’), Lalkovic (Bradshaw 68’), Sawyers, Hiwula.
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Taylor, O’Connor, Cook.
Bradford wins: 12
Walsall wins: 13
28th November 2015 – Walsall 2-1 Bradford – League One
Walsall secured a hard-fought win over in-form Bradford in what proved to be Dean Smith's final game in charge. Tom Bradshaw tucked home his 12th goal of the season to give the Saddlers a first-half lead, before Lee Evans' sumptuous 64th-minute volley drew Bradford level. But the hosts sealed victory with 16 minutes remaining when Milan Lalkovic coolly slotted past Bantams keeper Ben Williams.
BRADFORD HEAD COACH:
Phil Parkinson – The 48-year-old was appointed Bradford boss in August 2011 and is the fifth longest-serving manager in English football’s top four divisions. During the 2012/13 season, Parkinson guided City to the League Cup final and promotion from League Two. Parkinson, who has also managed Colchester, Hull and Charlton, masterminded the Bantams’ shock 4-2 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup last season.
BRADFORD STAR MAN:
Kyel Reid – The 28-year-old winger rejoined Bradford on loan from Preston in October 2015. The ex-West Ham youth player spent three years at Valley Parade from 2011 to 2014, helping the Bantams win promotion from League Two in 2012/13. A former England youth international, Reid has also played for Sheffield United, Charlton and Barnsley to name a few.
VIEW FROM THE BRADFORD CAMP:
Phil Parkinson (looking ahead to tomorrow’s match) – “We are still in a strong position for the play-offs. There are plenty of other teams who would happily swap places with us. It is now up to us to capitalise on this opportunity in these final three games of the season, starting with Saturday's game at home to Walsall. Walsall have had a great season and will come to us looking for automatic promotion. It will be another keenly-contested encounter but we are really looking forward to it."
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Right-back Jason Demetriou (groin) will be assessed. Midfielders Reece Flanagan (ACL) and Isaiah Osbourne (knee) are both out.
STAT OF THE DAY:
Walsall have conceded the fewest away goals in League One – just 19 in 21 matches.
SATURDAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES: (3.00pm unless stated)
Sheff Utd vs. Barnsley (12.30)
Bury vs. Millwall
Colchester vs. Burton
Doncaster vs. Coventry
Fleetwood vs. Blackpool
Gillingham vs. Shrewsbury
Oldham vs. Crewe
Peterborough vs. Scunthorpe
Port Vale vs. Rochdale
Swindon vs. Chesterfield
Wigan vs. Southend