A crunch promotion clash at the Pirelli...
Saturday, 27th February 2016 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One
The Saddlers face League One leaders Burton in a crunch promotion clash at the Pirelli Stadium this weekend. Both teams enter the match on the back of defeats; Walsall were beaten by fellow promotion contenders Wigan last time out, while Burton lost at Southend. The Saddlers boast League One’s best away record, although Nigel Clough’s Brewers have the division’s second-strongest home form. The first-ever competitive meeting between the two sides finished in a 2-0 Walsall victory back in October.
Burton: 1st – P31 W20 D3 L8 F42 A27 PTS63
Walsall: 4th – P31 W16 D9 L6 F49 A33 PTS57
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
22nd February – Southend 3-1 Burton – League One
Burton missed the chance to go seven points clear at the summit after losing to Southend. Anthony Wordsworth put the hosts in front, Stuart Beavon equalised, but goals from Tyrone Barnett and David Mooney sealed the win.
Team:McLaughlin, Edwards, Mousinho, Cansdell-Sherriff, McCrory, Weir, Duffy, Naylor, Butcher (Reilly 76’), Bennett (Akins 59’), Beavon.
Subs not used: Charles, Myers-Harness, O’Connor, Flanagan, Bywater.
20th February – Walsall 1-2 Wigan – League One
Walsall’s automatic promotion hopes suffered a setback after this gut-wrenching defeat. Conor McAleny’s sensational strike put Wigan ahead before Sam Mantom equalised with a spectacular half-volley, only for substitute Yanic Wildschut’s last-minute goal to earn the Latics victory.
Team:Etheridge, Taylor, Preston (Cook 90’), Downing, Demetriou, Chambers, Sawyers, Mantom, Forde, Lalkovic, Bradshaw.
Subs not used: Flanagan, K Morris, Kinsella, Roberts, B Morris, Kouhyar.
Burton wins: 0
Walsall wins: 1
10th October 2015 – Walsall 2-0 Burton – League One
Walsall replaced opponents Burton at the top of League One after goals from Liam Kinsella and Tom Bradshaw secured a deserved win. Kinsella's well-taken low drive put the Saddlers ahead and Bradshaw sealed the win with a last-minute penalty.
Nigel Clough – The 49-year-old was reappointed as Burton boss in December 2015, succeeding Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who left for QPR. Clough, the son of legendary former Derby and Nottingham Forest boss Brian, spent 11 years with the Brewers during his first spell, winning two promotions. The ex-Liverpool forward has also managed Derby and Sheffield United, whom he guided to two domestic cup semi-finals.
BURTON STAR MAN:
Stuart Beavon – The 31-year-old forward has plundered seven league goals for Burton this season. He joined the club from Preston in September 2014 following a successful loan spell and was a key member of the Brewers team that won the League Two title last term. He started his career in non-league before moving to Wycombe, where he won promotion to League One in 2010/11.
VIEW FROM THE BURTON CAMP:
Nigel Clough (on Burton’s 3-1 defeat at Southend) – “I thought we played well enough to get something out of the game. After the first 10 minutes we got to grips with the game and played well. We deserved the equaliser and I thought we started the second half very well. We probably played better for an hour of the game tonight than we did in the two previous victories."
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
James O’Connor (thigh) and Rico Henry (ankle) could return. Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is a long-term absentee.
James Adcock (from Nottinghamshire).
STAT OF THE DAY:
The Saddlers are unbeaten in six away league matches (W4 D2).
SATURDAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES (3.00pm unless stated)
Blackpool vs. Bradford
Colchester vs. Shrewsbury
Coventry vs. Fleetwood
Crewe vs. Barnsley
Doncaster vs. Millwall
Gillingham vs. Chesterfield
Peterborough vs. Swindon
Rochdale vs. Sheff Utd
Scunthorpe vs. Oldham
Wigan vs. Bury