League One leaders Bolton are tomorrow's visitors to the Banks's...
Walsall will be hoping to end a run of six league matches without a win when they host table-topping Bolton. It is the Saddlers’ first home game in almost three weeks since the 5-2 Checkatrade Trophy thumping of Grimsby when Amadou Bakayoko scored a 27-minute first-half hat-trick. The Trotters, meanwhile, are one of three teams still unbeaten – the others being Bradford and Northampton - although they have drawn their last three matches 1-1. Wanderers, now managed by ex-Bradford boss Phil Parkinson, are targeting an immediate return to the second tier after relegation last term.
Walsall: 20th – P7 W1 D3 L3 F8 A11 PTS6
Bolton: 1st – P7 W4 D3 L0 F10 A6 PTS15
10th September – Bolton 1-1 MK Dons – League One
Bolton maintained their unbeaten start to the League One season with a point at home to MK Dons. Mark Beevers slammed the hosts in front on seven minutes, only for Ryan Colclough to bundle the Dons level after the break. The visitors could have snatched victory, but Wanderers keeper Mark Howard produced a brilliant save to turn Kieron Agard’s penalty onto the bar.
13th September – Bristol Rovers 1-1 Walsall – League One
Erhun Oztumer bagged his third goal in five league starts as Walsall were held to a controversial draw at Bristol Rovers. The playmaker curled the Saddlers ahead on 16 minutes, but a highly-disputed 28th-minute penalty from Matt Taylor, awarded for a foul by Adam Chambers on Billy Boden, earned Rovers a point.
Walsall wins: 7
Bolton wins: 10
19th September 2006 – Walsall 1-3 Bolton – Carling Cup
Our last meeting against the Trotters came almost exactly ten years ago. Bolton, under the stewardship of new England boss Sam Allardyce, took the lead on 68 minutes through Kevin Nolan. Martin Butler equalised for League Two Walsall with a header, but late goals from Ivan Campo and Nicolas Anelka secured Wanderers’ progression to the third round. Walsall’s last win against Bolton came in January 2000 – 2-0, thanks to goals from Michael Ricketts – who later signed for the Trotters – and Pedro Miguel Matias.
Bolton Manager: Phil Parkinson
The 48-year-old was appointed Bolton boss on a two-year contract in June and remains unbeaten in the league. Chorley-born Parkinson, who was named the League One Manager of the Month for August, is best known for his five-year spell at Bradford, where he won League Two promotion in 2012/13. The ex-Colchester, Hull and Charlton boss also guided the Bantams to the 2013 League Cup final, and masterminded their famous 4-2 FA Cup win at Chelsea two years later.
Bolton Star Man: Jamie Proctor
The 24-year-old reunited with Phil Parkinson following the expiration of his contract with Bradford in July 2016. Proctor started his career at Preston, his boyhood team, and has also played in League One for Crawley, Fleetwood and Shrewsbury. The tall striker joined Premier League side Swansea in 2012 but was unable to make a first-team appearance.
Isaiah Osbourne and James O’Connor could both return after missing the last few matches due to thigh and hamstring injuries respectively. Andreas Makris will be assessed after coming off against Bristol Rovers through illness, while Flo Cuvelier is out with an Achilles problem.
Based in Rutland, Kettle officiated his first match of the 2016/17 season on Saturday - Stevenage’s 2-1 victory over Crawley in League Two. His last Walsall game was our 3-0 home defeat to Millwall in February.
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