Third versus fourth...
Saturday, 20th February 2016 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One
Two of League One’s automatic promotion contenders do battle in an eagerly-awaited top-of-the-table clash at the Banks’s this weekend. Just one point and one place separate the two teams. Walsall, in third, will be hoping to record their first home win of 2016 against a fourth-placed Wigan side currently unbeaten in ten. Honours finished even in the October reverse fixture.
Walsall: 3rd – P30 W16 D9 L5 F48 A31 PTS57
Wigan: 4th – P31 W15 D11 L5 F50 A29 PTS56
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
13th February – Crewe 1-1 Walsall – League One
Walsall slipped out of the League One automatic promotion places after being held at relegation-strugglers Crewe. The Saddlers went ahead through Tom Bradshaw’s 32nd-minute penalty, but Brad Inman headed Crewe level after half-time.
Team:Etheridge, Demetriou, Preston, Downing, Taylor, Chambers, Mantom, Lalkovic (Henry 88), Sawyers, Forde (K Morris 88), Bradshaw.
Subs not used: Roberts, Kinsella, Flanagan, B Morris, Cook.
13th February – Wigan 0-0 Oldham – League One
Wigan extended their unbeaten run to ten matches after playing out a goalless draw against lowly Oldham. The visitors created the clearer chances, with Carl Winchester going closest.
Team:Jaaskelainen, Daniels (Morsy 45’), Morgan, Pearce, Wabara, Perkins (Colclough 76’), Power, McCann, Grigg, McAleny (Davies 81’), Wildschut.
Subs not used: Nicholls, James, Hendry, Vuckic.
Walsall wins: 11
Wigan wins: 13
3rd October 2015 – Wigan 0-0 Walsall – League One
Walsall maintained their unbeaten away record in League One with an entertaining goalless draw at ten-man Wigan. The Latics dominated for an hour, with ex-Walsall striker Will Grigg spurning two gilt-edge close-range opportunities. Wigan were reduced to ten men on 69 minutes when captain Craig Morgan was sent off but the Saddlers were unable to capitalise on their man advantage.
Gary Caldwell – The former Scotland international centre-back was appointed Wigan manager on 7th April 2015. The 33-year-old spent five years as a player at Wigan, making over 100 appearances. Caldwell also played for Coventry, Hibernian and Celtic, where he won two league titles and was named the Scottish Football Writers' Footballer of the Year in 2009.
WIGAN STAR MAN:
Will Grigg – The ex-Walsall striker joined Wigan from Brentford for £900,000 in the summer and is the Latics’ 13-goal top scorer. The 24-year-old spent five years at the Banks’s, being named Player of the Season in 2012/13. He won promotion from League One with Brentford in 2013/14 and repeated the feat on loan at MK Dons last season, scoring 20 goals.
VIEW FROM THE WIGAN CAMP:
Gary Caldwell(on playing Walsall) – “We’re looking forward to it and as I’ve said to the players, you want these games to come around, but you’ve got to be ready for them when they do. We’ve been involved in some big games this year and this is another one, it’s got all of the ingredients to be an exciting League One fixture."
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Tom Bradshaw (ankle) and James O’Connor (thigh) are both doubts. Craig MacGillivray (shoulder) is expected to be fit. Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is a long-term absentee.
Iain Williamson (from Berkshire).
STAT OF THE DAY:
The Saddlers have only lost one game against a top-half team this season (Millwall H 0-3). Walsall’s record against the top half is: Won 9, Drawn 4, Lost 1.
SATURDAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES (3.00pm unless stated)
Barnsley vs. Doncaster
Bradford vs. Rochdale
Bury vs. Colchester
Chesterfield vs. Crewe
Fleetwood vs. Scunthorpe
Millwall vs. Peterborough
Oldham vs. Gillingham
Sheff Utd vs. Port Vale
Swindon vs. Blackpool