The Saddlers entertain the Shrimpers...
Saturday, 16th April 2016 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One
Third-placed Walsall can put further pressure on the top two with victory over Southend this weekend. We produced arguably our best performance of the season in Tuesday’s impressive 2-1 victory at Gillingham – our fourth win in six matches since John Whitney took charge. Phil Brown’s 11th-placed Southend, who won promotion from League Two via the play-offs last season, need three points to keep their slim play-off hopes alive.
Walsall: 3rd – P40 W20 D11 L9 F59 A42 PTS71
Southend: 11th – P41 W16 D11 L14 F55 A54 PTS59
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
12th April – Gillingham 1-2 Walsall – League One
Second-half goals from Milan Lalkovic and Jordy Hiwula earned Walsall an impressive win at fellow high-flyers Gillingham. Luke Norris – who missed a first-half penalty – scored the Gills’ consolation.
Team:Etheridge, Demetriou, Downing, Pennington, Henry, Chambers, Mantom, Forde (Morris 69’), Lalkovic (Cook 84’), Sawyers (Flanagan 90’), Hiwula.
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Taylor, Preston, Morris, Kinsella.
9th April – Southend 2-2 Fleetwood – League One
Conor McLaughlin’s last-minute header earned Fleetwood a valuable point at Roots Hall. Bobby Grant’s long-range stunner put the visitors ahead, only for an Adam Barrett header and a Jack Payne strike to make it 2-1 Southend, before McLaughlin equalised at the death.
Team:Bentley, Thompson, Barrett, Coker, Worrall (White 88’), Leonard, Deegan, Atkinson (Weston 60’), McLaughlin (McQueen 79’), Payne, Barnett.
Subs not used: Hurst, Loza, Kamara, Malarczyk.
Walsall wins: 22
Southend wins: 39
15th August 2015 – Southend 0-2 Walsall – League One
Goals from Tom Bradshaw and Sam Mantom handed Walsall a comfortable win at Southend. Bradshaw’s low left-footed strike gave the Saddlers an eighth-minute lead before Mantom fired home our second goal shortly after half-time. Southend’s David Worrall had an effort cleared off the line, while James Baxendale and Jordan Cook each went close to increasing Walsall’s advantage. It was the Saddlers’ first league victory of the 2015/16 season.
Phil Brown – The 56-year-old took charge of Southend in March 2013 and guided the Shrimpers to promotion from League Two via the play-offs last season. Brown spent four years in charge of Hull, helping them reach the Premier League for the first time in their history in 2007/08. The ex-Bolton, Hartlepool and Halifax defender has also managed Derby and Preston.
SOUTHEND STAR MAN:
Jack Payne – A product of the Blues’ youth system, the in-form attacking midfielder has scored nine goals in 31 outings for Southend this season, including five in his last eight. The diminutive 21-year-old made his professional debut in a 1-0 League Cup defeat against Yeovil in August 2013 and has since racked up over 80 appearances for the club.
VIEW FROM THE SOUTHEND CAMP:
Phil Brown (on Walsall’s win at Gillingham) – “On Tuesday myself and (assistant manager) Graham (Coughlan) went across to Gillingham. We watched one of the best performances I've seen all year. Walsall are a very well organised team, and they are a team that’s not in great form from a promotion perspective, so to go to Gillingham with the game plan they did is all the more impressive. So it’s going to be a difficult match based on the fact that they are a very good footballing team.”
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Tom Bradshaw (groin) and James O’Connor (calf) could return. Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is a long-term absentee.
STAT OF THE DAY:
We have only lost one of our last eight home matches against Southend.
SATURDAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES: (3.00pm unless stated)
Chesterfield vs. Sheff Utd (1.00pm)
Burton vs. Barnsley
Colchester vs. Peterborough
Coventry vs. Millwall
Crewe vs. Scunthorpe
Doncaster vs. Wigan
Fleetwood vs. Oldham
Gillingham vs. Port Vale
Rochdale vs. Blackpool
Shrewsbury vs. Bradford
Swindon vs. Bury