An intriguing FA Cup third round tie...
Saturday, 9th January 2016 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
The Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Walsall face a mouth-watering FA Cup third round clash against former manager Dean Smith's Brentford. The 44-year-old spent almost five years with the Saddlers before leaving to join the Bees at the end of November. Smith’s men are 10th in the Championship, while Walsall, who have already knocked out Chesterfield and Fleetwood to reach this stage, are third in League One. Over 1,600 Saddlers supporters are making the journey to Griffin Park.
Brentford: 10th in the Championship – P25 W10 D6 L9 F37 A35 PTS36
Walsall: 3rd in League One – P24 W14 D6 L4 F40 A22 PTS48
LAST FIVE COMPETITIVE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
2nd January – Birmingham 2-1 Brentford – Championship
Maikel Kieftenbeld scored an 89th-minute winner to seal a dramatic Birmingham win. Jacques Maghoma fired Birmingham ahead after 55 minutes, Philip Hofmann equalised on 77, before Kieftenbeld struck at the death.
Bees team:Button, Colin, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell, Diagouraga, Woods, Canos (Gogia 80’), Judge, Swift (McEachran 70’), Vibe (Hofmann 64’).
Subs not used: Saunders, Bonham, O’Connell, Yennaris.
2nd January – Walsall 0-3 Rochdale – League One
Below-par Walsall slipped to third in League One after suffering a surprise defeat against Rochdale. Ian Henderson gave Dale an early lead and Calvin Andrew added a second-half brace to condemn the Saddlers to a first defeat in eight matches.
Saddlers team:Etheridge, Demetriou, Downing, O’Connor, Taylor (Henry 73’), Forde, Chambers, Evans, Cook (Morris 45’), Sawyers, Lalkovic (Bradshaw 59’).
Subs not used: Mantom, Preston, Kinsella, Roberts.
Walsall wins: 22
Brentford wins: 33
18th January 2014 – Walsall 1-1 Brentford - League One
Craig Westcarr earned Walsall a point and halted Brentford’s eight-match winning streak. Mark Warburton’s Bees, who started the day top but slipped to second, went ahead through Clayton Donaldson’s glancing header on 30 minutes. But the Saddlers equalised on the cusp of half-time, Craig Westcarr nodding in from close range.
Dean Smith – The 44-year-old spent almost five years in charge of Walsall prior to joining Brentford in November 2015. Smith, who guided the Saddlers to a first-ever Wembley appearance last season, has won three of his seven matches in charge of the Bees. He played as a defender for Walsall, Hereford, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale.
BRENTFORD STAR MAN:
Alan Judge – The diminutive Irish winger was named the Championship’s Player of the Month for October. A former Republic of Ireland youth international, Judge helped the Bees finish as League One runners-up in 2013/14 and scored their promotion-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Preston. The 27-year-old joined Brentford, initially on loan, in January 2014 and has also played for Blackburn, Notts County and Plymouth.
VIEW FROM THE BRENTFORD CAMP:
Dean Smith (on facing his former club) – “It’s very strange – I know all the players, they are all players that I took to the club after all. It’s nice that Walsall have got through to the third round as it’s something that I couldn’t do with them so I’m looking forward to it. The players we will be coming up against are players I know emotionally. Walsall have a good set of players and I sincerely hope they continue the success they are having at the moment and get promoted.”
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is out. The Saddlers have no other injury concerns.
STAT OF THE DAY:
The Saddlers are hoping to reach the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in ten years.
SATURDAY’S FA CUP FIXTURES (3.00pm unless stated)
Wycombe vs. Aston Villa (12.45pm)
Arsenal vs. Sunderland
Birmingham vs. Bournemouth
Bury vs. Bradford
Colchester vs. Charlton
Doncaster vs. Stoke
Eastleigh vs. Bolton
Everton vs. Dagenham
Hartlepool vs. Derby
Huddersfield vs. Reading
Hull vs. Brighton
Ipswich vs. Portsmouth
Leeds vs. Rotherham
Middlesbrough vs. Burnley
Newport vs. Blackburn
Northampton vs. MK Dons
Norwich vs. Man City
Nott’m Forest vs. QPR
Peterborough vs. Preston
Sheff Wed vs. Fulham
Southampton vs. Crystal Palace
Watford vs. Newcastle
West Brom vs. Bristol City
West Ham vs. Wolves
Man Utd vs. Sheff Utd (5.30pm)