A local derby tonight...
Tuesday, 26th April 2016 (Kick-off 7.45pm)
Sky Bet League One
Walsall realistically need to beat near neighbours Shrewsbury this evening to keep their flickering automatic promotion hopes alive. The Saddlers, now fourth in League One, can close the gap on second-placed Burton to three points with victory over Micky Mellon’s relegation-troubled Shrews, in what is their game in hand. Shrewsbury bolstered their survival chances with a surprise 3-2 success at Gillingham and need just one win to preserve their League One status. A draw will guarantee Walsall a play-off place.
Walsall: 4th – P43 W21 D12 L10 F61 A47 PTS75
Shrewsbury: 19th – P43 W13 D11 L19 F54 A70 PTS50
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
23rd April – Bradford 4-0 Walsall – League One
James Hanson scored a 15-minute second-half hat-trick as Walsall crashed to their heaviest league defeat of the season at Bradford. Filipe Morais netted the Bantams' 54th-minute opener.
Team: Etheridge, Kinsella, Downing, O’Connor, Taylor, Chambers, Mantom (Morris 70’), Forde, Henry (Bradshaw 59’), Sawyers, Hiwula (Cook 82’).
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Lalkovic, Preston, Sangha.
23rd April – Gillingham 2-3 Shrewsbury – League One
Shrewsbury moved four points clear of the relegation zone with victory at Gillingham. Sullay Kaikai put the Shrews ahead before Cody McDonald equalised from 20 yards. Andy Mangan’s acrobatic finish restored Shrewsbury’s lead, Jake Hessenthaler levelled, but Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro made it 3-2 with a deflected effort.
Team:Leutwiler, Hendry, Whitbread, Knight-Percival, Grimmer, Wesolowski, Ogogo, Sadler, Kaikai, Akpa-Akpro, Mangan (Black 84’).
Subs not used: Vassell, Whalley, Halstead, Clark, Cole, Smith.
Walsall wins: 40
Shrewsbury wins: 22
1st December 2015 – Shrewsbury 1-3 Walsall – League One
Walsall began life after Dean Smith with an impressive derby win over 10-man Shrewsbury. Larnell Cole fired the hosts ahead on 40 minutes, but Milan Lalkovic's fifth goal in eight matches drew the Saddlers level before half-time. Shrewsbury were reduced to ten men with 19 minutes remaining when Ian Black was sent off for two bookable offences. And the visitors took full advantage, with Paul Downing and Jordan Cook's first goals of the season securing victory.
Micky Mellon – The 44-year-old was appointed Shrewsbury manager in May 2014 and guided the Shropshire club to promotion from League Two last season. He spent four years in charge of Fleetwood, winning promotions from the Conference North and Conference Premier. Mellon, who had a short caretaker spell at Barnsley, played for Blackpool, Tranmere and West Brom among others.
SHREWSBURY STAR MAN:
Sullay Kaikai – The Crystal Palace loanee was named League One’s Player of the Month for March after scoring five goals in as many matches. The 20-year-old winger is the Shrews’ top scorer, with 12 goals in 27 appearances this term. Kaikai, who scored on his Palace debut against Newcastle in September 2014, has also played on loan at Crawley and Cambridge.
VIEW FROM THE SHREWSBURY CAMP:
Micky Mellon (on tonight's game – "It's a very tough game, but a local derby and we're very much looking forward to it. They're always good games of football. It's under the lights and should add to the atmosphere, so it's a game you want to be involved in. From my point of view, it's two teams that play the game the way I like to see the game played."
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Right-back Jason Demetriou (groin) is expected to be fit. Midfielders Reece Flanagan (ACL) and Isaiah Osbourne (knee) are both out.
STAT OF THE DAY:
We are unbeaten in our last ten home matches against Shrewsbury, winning eight and drawing the other two. The Shrews’ only-ever victory at the Banks’s Stadium came in December 1993 - 1-0 thanks to a goal from Dean Spink.