A second home game this week...
Saturday, 5th March 2016 (Kick-off 3.00pm)
Sky Bet League One
Third-placed Walsall face another challenging fixture this weekend, when in-form play-off chasers Barnsley visit the Banks’s Stadium. The Saddlers have drawn their last two matches 0-0 and are searching for their first win in six. Managerless Barnsley were bottom of League One in November but are now on the verge of the play-offs after winning ten of their last 12 league matches. The Yorkshire club, who have Paul Heckingbottom in caretaker charge, will compete in next month’s JPT final.
Walsall: 3rd – P33 W16 D11 L6 F49 A33 PTS59
Barnsley: 7th – P34 W16 D4 L14 F54 A45 PTS52
LAST FIVE LEAGUE MATCHES: (Most recent match first)
LAST TIME OUT:
1st March – Walsall 0-0 Scunthorpe – League One
Walsall were held to a second successive goalless draw by Scunthorpe. Kieron Morris went closest for the Saddlers when he rattled the bar, while Scunthorpe’s Tom Hopper saw an effort cleared off the line.
Team:Etheridge, Demetriou, O’Connor, Downing, Taylor, Chambers, Mantom, Forde (Henry 70'), Lalkovic (K Morris 70'), Sawyers, Bradshaw.
Subs not used: Roberts, Preston, Flanagan, Cook, B Morris.
1st March – Barnsley 2-0 Coventry – League One
Barnsley bolstered their play-off hopes with a comfortable win over top-six rivals Coventry. Marc Roberts put the Tykes ahead on ten minutes, and Ashley Fletcher sealed victory on the hour mark.
Team:Davies, Bree (Smith 72’), Roberts, Mawson, G Williams, Watkins, Brownhill, Hourihane, Isgrove (Scowen 45’), Fletcher, Winnall (Chapman 45’).
Subs not used: Nyatanga, Townsend, Khan, Tuton.
Walsall wins: 16
Barnsley wins: 15
20th October 2015 – Barnsley 0-2 Walsall – League One
Manchester City loanee George Evans scored on his Walsall debut as the Saddlers claimed their first league victory at Barnsley in over 44 years. After a goalless first half, the impressive Evans drilled the visitors ahead just past the hour mark. And former Barnsley winger Milan Lalkovic sealed the win when he coolly slotted home with 20 minutes remaining.
BARNSLEY CARETAKER MANAGER:
Paul Heckingbottom – The 38-year-old former Barnsley defender was placed in caretaker charge of the Tykes following Lee Johnson’s departure to Bristol City last month. Heckingbottom, a former Manchester United trainee, was a member of the Barnsley squad that won promotion from League One via the play-offs in 2005/06. He also played for Darlington, Bradford and Sheffield Wednesday to name a few.
BARNSLEY STAR MAN:
Sam Winnall – The diminutive striker is third in the League One scoring charts with 17 goals; only Coventry’s Adam Armstrong and Swindon’s Nicky Ajose – 19 each – have netted more. Wolverhampton-born Winnall has plundered 30 goals in 79 competitive appearances for the Tykes since signing from Scunthorpe in July 2014. The 25-year-old fired the Iron to promotion from League Two in 2013/14, finishing as the division’s 23-goal top scorer.
VIEW FROM THE BARNSLEY CAMP:
Paul Heckingbottom (on the Saddlers) – “They’re up there on merit. They’ve earned the right to be there. They like to play good football and they’ve been good defensively as well. We know going there will be a tough game, just like they all have been of recent times so we’ve got to rise to it and take it head on, trying to impose ourselves.”
WALSALL TEAM NEWS:
Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne (knee) is a long-term absentee.
Chris Sarginson (from Staffordshire).
STAT OF THE DAY:
The Saddlers have kept 12 clean sheets in League One this season. Only Burton (17), Wigan (15) and Bradford (13) have had more.
SATURDAY’S LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES (3.00pm unless stated)
Bury vs. Bradford
Coventry vs. Rochdale
Crewe vs. Burton
Doncaster vs. Shrewsbury
Fleetwood vs. Sheff Utd
Millwall vs. Blackpool
Oldham vs. Swindon
Port Vale vs. Colchester
Scunthorpe vs. Gillingham
Southend vs. Chesterfield
Wigan vs. Peterborough