A trip to the King Power Stadium this evening...
Walsall will finish as group winners if they avoid defeat against a Leicester Under-21s side who - like the Saddlers - are already through to the knock-out stages of the Checkatrade Trophy. Jon Whitney’s men sit top of Northern Group H with six points from a possible six, after 5-2 and 2-1 victories over Grimsby and Sheffield United respectively. The young Foxes, meanwhile, lie a point behind the Saddlers in second place. They drew their first match 0-0 at Bramall Lane but won the subsequent penalty shoot-out 5-4 to gain an extra point, before beating Grimsby 1-0 to seal their place in the last 32. The team that finishes top of the group will be guaranteed a home tie in the next round. Grimsby and Sheff Utd – who meet tomorrow night in the final group fixture – are both out.
Northern Group H
Walsall: 1st - P2 W2 D0 L0 F7 A3 PTS6
Leicester U21s: 2nd - P2 W1 D1 L0 F1 A0 PTS5
A look back at how both ourselves and Leicester Under-21s fared in the second round of Northern Group H matches...
4th October – Grimsby 0-1 Leicester U21s
Kairo Mitchell scored the only goal as Leicester Under-21s beat ten-man Grimsby to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Checkatrade Trophy. Mariners centre-back Shaun Pearson played in goal for 74 minutes following the dismissal of goalkeeper James McKeown for deliberate handball. The young Foxes’ winner came on 63 minutes, Mitchell latching onto Raul Uche’s pass and bundling the ball home.
4th October – Sheff Utd 1-2 Walsall
Walsall booked their place in the second round of the Checkatade Trophy with victory at Sheffield United. Scott Laird’s 16th-minute tap-in put the Saddlers ahead before Amadou Bakayoko fired home a second on 66 minutes. Paul Coutts pulled one back for United late on, but Jon Whitney’s side held on to make it back-to-back wins in Northern Group H.
Leicester U21s Manager: Steve Beaglehole
The Foxes’ Under-21s are managed by Steve Beaglehole, whose official title is Senior Professional Development Coach. He spent two years in charge of his hometown team Doncaster in the early 1990s, and has also held coaching positions at Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and Leeds.
Leicester U21s Star Man: Kairo Mitchell
The powerful frontman has scored Leicester Under-21s’ only goal in the competition to date – a scruffy 63rd-minute winner at Grimsby back in October. Mitchell enjoyed a productive 2015/16 with the Foxes’ Under-18s and has made several appearances in Premier League 2, as well as the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens.
Manager Jon Whitney is expected to give a number of his younger players a chance to impress. Flo Cuvelier, Maz Kouhyar, Reece Flanagan and Rory Oliver remain on the sidelines.
The West Yorkshire-based official has taken charge of 13 matches this season, including Leicester U21s’ 1-0 win at Grimsby on matchday two of the Checkatrade Trophy. He has brandished 49 yellow cards and three red, while the last Walsall game he officiated was our 3-2 win at Bury back in January.
If you are not attending the game, make sure you tune into Saddlers Player HD for full uninterrupted commentary at www.player.saddlers.co.uk.
Pre-match build-up, live in-game coverage and post-match reaction will be available on our official Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Snapchat and Instagram accounts.