The Saddlers travel to Bramall Lane in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight...
Walsall will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in the Checkatrade Trophy when they visit fellow League One side Sheffield United. The Saddlers sit top of Northern Group H, having thrashed League Two Grimsby 5-2 in matchday one, with Amadou Bakayoko scoring a first-half hat-trick. Jon Whitney’s side are searching for their first win away from the Banks’s this season, while Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United, currently fourth in League One, are unbeaten in eight. Premier League champions Leicester’s Under-23 team play Grimsby in the other Northern Group H fixture this evening.
Sheff Utd: 4th in League One – P11 W5 D3 L3 F14 A14 PTS18
Walsall: 16th in League One – P11 W3 D4 L4 F13 A17 PTS13
A look back at how both ourselves and Sheffield United fared in the first round of Northern Group H matches.
30th August – Sheff Utd 0-0 Leicester U23s (4-5 on pens)
The Blades began their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a point, but missed the chance to claim a second point after losing the subsequent penalty shoot-out. Leicester’s Under-23s scored all five spot-kicks, with John Fleck’s miss proving costly for United.
30th August – Walsall 5-2 Grimsby
Amadou Bakayoko scored a first-half hat-trick as five-star Walsall thumped League Two Grimsby. Andrew Boyce gave the Mariners an early lead, but a 27-minute Bakayoko treble put us in control at the break. Kieron Morris netted his third goal in as many matches to make it 4-1, before Luke Summerfield pulled one back. But the Saddlers had the final say, with youngster Maz Kouhyar’s first career goal rounding off a comprehensive win.
Sheff Utd wins: 13
Walsall wins: 7
2nd April 2016 – Sheff Utd 2-0 Walsall – League One
Two goals in five first-half minutes from Chris Basham and Billy Sharp condemned Walsall to a disappointing defeat at Sheffield United. Basham's 31st-minute header put the Blades ahead before Sharp volleyed home a quick-fire second to seal a comfortable win.
Sheff Utd Manager: Chris Wilder
A boyhood Blades fan, the 49-year-old replaced Nigel Adkins as Sheffield United manager in May 2016 after leaving Northampton, where he won the League Two title last season. Wilder, who was named the 2015/16 LMA League Two Manager of the Year, led Oxford to promotion from the Conference in 2009/10 and has also managed Halifax and Alfreton.
Sheff Utd Star Man: Billy Sharp
The 30-year-old finished as United’s 21-goal top scorer last season and is their leading marksman again this term, with five goals in 13 appearances. A seasoned striker, Sheffield-born Sharp is into his third spell at Bramall Lane and has twice been named in the League One PFA Team of the Year. He has won promotion with both Scunthorpe and Southampton.
Joe Edwards is available, although Simeon Jackson, Andreas Makris and Liam Kinsella are away on international duty with Canada, Cyprus and Republic of Ireland Under-21s respectively. Reece Flanagan and Rory Oliver are long-term absentees.
Based in West Yorkshire, Heywood has brandished 51 yellow cards and one red in 11 matches this season. The last Walsall game he officiated was our 1-1 draw at Peterborough in September 2015, during which he controversially sent off Jermaine Anderson for throwing a water bottle into the crowd.
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